Understanding and Managing Gum Disease
Many people have gum disease and don’t know it. If left undetected or untreated, it may cause them to lose their teeth. Mild inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis, is the first stage, which can often be reversed with aggressive management. Without treatment, it will progress to periodontitis. At this stage, bacteria and plaque deposits cause gum tissues to pull away from teeth and form deep pockets where food and more bacteria become trapped. Toxins produced by infected pockets break down the connective tissue and bone responsible for holding teeth in place. Eventually, periodontal disease will end in loosening of teeth and tooth loss.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
While dental plaque is the primary cause of most cases, the following factors may also contribute to periodontal disease:
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
- Illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, and other immune problems
- Certain medications such as Dilantin, Procardia, and Adalat
- Poor oral hygiene
- A family history of dental disease
What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
Symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and may go unnoticed, but the following are clear warning signs.
- Bleeding gums, especially after brushing
- Receding gums
- Red, inflamed, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- The presence of pockets between gums and teeth
- Loose teeth
- Changes in bite
- Changes in the way partial dentures fit
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
See your dentist and dental hygienist regularly. Early stages of gum disease are reversible. The following recommendations can help decrease your risk of gum deterioration and the rate of its progression.
- Stop smoking.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Manage tooth-grinding problems.
- Practice strict oral hygiene; brush twice daily and floss every day.
How is Gum Disease Diagnosed and Treated?
Your dentist in Reading will check for signs of diseased gums during a comprehensive exam. Treatment depends on the stage and severity of the disease. It may include special cleaning instructions or products, medicated mouth rinses, or surgery to restore supportive gum tissues.
Can Gum Health Affect General Health?
Researchers have discovered links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and low birth weight.
To learn about our family dentistry practice in Reading, call Gentle Dental of Reading today at (484) 334-2592 or make an appointment.
Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Reading. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Reading, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Reading.