Almost 50 percent of adult Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. From mild gingivitis to serious periodontitis, gums affect your teeth and your systemic health, too. What does your Mt. Holly family dentist do to treat gum disease and restore smiles to complete health?
Symptoms of gum disease
During a routine dental exam, your Mt. Holly dentist checks for signs of gum problems. He or she measures depth of gum pockets, the space between gums and root surfaces. Normal pocket depth measures no more than 3 mm. Deeper pockets indicate active gum disease, often accompanied by:
- Gum recession
- Bone recession
- Bad breath
Normal gum tissue is pink and intact, forming a turtleneck-like collar around each tooth. When plaque and tartar accumulate below the gum line, infection and inflammation occur in varying degrees.
Many times, the condition originates in poor oral hygiene as bacteria-filled plaque and tartar infect gums, deteriorate soft tissue and bone and loosen teeth. Tooth loss is almost inevitable if gum disease is untreated and progresses.
Dentists categorize gum disease into 3 types:
- Aggressive periodontitis begins quickly and is progressively destructive as gums detach from tooth surfaces as evidenced by gum pockets deeper than 3 mm.
- Chronic periodontitis is the most common kind, leading to substantial bone loss.
- Necrotizing periodontitis occurs in people who are immunosuppressed–for instance, HIV-AIDS patients.
Health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and HIV raise the risk for gum disease. Pregnant women are more prone, and heredity seems to be a major player. The American Academy of Periodontology cites stress as a contributing factor, and not surprisingly, smokers have an increased incidence of this oral health problem.
Physicians and dentists see links between gum disease and systemic problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, dementia, chronic respiratory infections and arthritis. Doctors say it’s difficult to document a direct cause and effect relationship between gum disease and systemic health problems. However, they agree that people with untreated gum disease definitely have more chronic health issues.
Treatment of gum disease in Mt. Holly
Drs. Greenburg, Ko-Kim, Cygler and Govitrikar believe preventive dentistry and good at-home brushing and flossing shields kids and adults from gingivitis and periodontitis. Additionally, a well-hydrated and well-balanced diet benefits teeth and gums both.
Of course, the Mt. Holly dentists wish to see their patients every 6 months for exams and professional cleanings. Exams spot gum problems at their earliest stages, and cleanings remove plaque and tartar brushing and flossing cannot reach.
When the dentists diagnose active gum disease, they treat most cases with “deep cleaning,” a gentle, but thorough scaling of tooth surfaces and roots to remove hard tartar. The hygienist uses hand tools to eliminate these deposits and washes them away. The dentist may instill antibiotics to quell infection.
How are your gums?
It’s important to know. So, why not contact Mt. Holly Family Dentistry for a preventive dentistry consultation? Your mouth and your systemic health will benefit by it!