Kansas City, MO
Gum disease affects millions of adults each year. It takes on different stages. In the first stage, it can be reversed with expert dental care. However, as it progresses, teeth lose their hold and tooth loss occurs. At Fay Periodontal Associates, we take a special interest in patients with any form of gum disease. The following information will give you more details about treating the disease, also known as periodontal disease, and preventing it.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissues that stabilize the teeth. If a person does not regularly brush their teeth twice daily or floss, he or she may develop this dental problem. When teeth are not regularly brushed, a sticky film, called plaque, can build up and harden. When the disease becomes advanced, patients experience bleeding and sore gums and problems with chewing. Tooth loss can occur as well when gum disease is severe.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Because the mouth is full of bacteria, gum disease can develop. To get rid of the bacterial plaque that develops, it is important to clean the teeth. When plaque hardens, it becomes a substance known as tartar. If you have tartar on your teeth, we need to intervene, as only a professional cleaning or prophylaxis can get rid of this material.
While a number of risk factors can be attributed to gum disease, smoking poses one of the greatest risks. Smoking can also make it difficult to treat the dental problem. Other risks associated with the development of gum disease include female hormonal changes, medications that cause dry mouth, diabetes, and certain illnesses that affect the immune system.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
If you have gum disease, you may experience halitosis or bad breath, have swollen or red gums, or your gums may be tender and bleeding. It may be painful to chew, and your teeth may be loose or sensitive. Teeth may appear longer, as well, because of gum recession.
What Happens during an Examination of the Gums?
If you suspect that you have gum disease, we will have to diagnose the condition first. During your dental appointment, we will thoroughly examine the gums, noting signs of inflammation. We will also use a probe to measure the pockets around your teeth. Healthy teeth should display pockets of 1 to 3 millimeters deep. The measurements we take are normally painless. We will also inquire about your medical history to check risk factors, such as diabetes or smoking. Our exam includes x-raying the mouth to check for bone loss as well.
What Does Treatment Involve?
The main objective of periodontal disease treatment is to control the bacterial infection. The type of treatment that is used will depend on the extent of the disease. While we treat the disease, it is imperative that you maintain good dental hygiene at home. You may need to quit certain habits, such as smoking, to improve the treatment outcome.
To keep your gums and teeth healthy, brush twice a day and floss at least once daily. Visit our office, Fay Periodontal Associates for exams and professional cleanings. Quit smoking or stop using any form of tobacco. You can learn more about treatment by giving us a call today. Contact us at (816) 673-2230 for further information and to arrange an appointment for a consultation.