When you think of dental care and oral health, you probably think of teeth. Many people tend to overlook the gums framing those pearly whites. Gum health is more important than you may realize. Prevention or treatment of periodontal disease is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your smile, and your health.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissue surrounding the teeth. It begins with bacteria-laden plaque, which tends to accumulate along the gum line. This leads to chronic infection and, in turn, inflammation. Research indicates a strong link between chronic inflammatory conditions, such as gum disease, and systemic health problems such as heart disease and pre-term pregnancy. Simply stated, a healthy body includes a healthy mouth.
The mildest and most easily treatable form of periodontal disease is gingivitis. It may cause bleeding, redness, tenderness, or puffiness of the gum tissue. These symptoms are often very subtle, so it is important to pay close attention to your gums and see a dentist regularly. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis.
The combination of infection related inflammation and irritation from tartar separates the gum tissue from the teeth. As it pulls lose, it creates pockets that collect bacteria, thus accelerating the infection. Without treatment, the cycle can continue until the infection reaches the jawbone, causing it to erode. Periodontal disease can be treated at any stage, but waiting too long can cause irreversible damage.
If detected in the earliest stages, gum disease can usually be reversed with deep cleaning (scaling and root planing). The procedure is gentle and efficient, using special instruments to remove tartar beneath the gum line and smooth the tooth root. As the disease progresses and the pockets around teeth deepen, it becomes increasingly difficult to eliminate infection with scaling and root planing alone. In these cases, we use a nonsurgical technique of topical antibiotic treatment.
Are you overdue for a dental checkup? Visit Parkside Dental, the home of healthy, dazzling smiles in Murphy, Texas.