We’re going to start with some purposeful mixed messaging about gum disease, which affects nearly half of adults 30 years and older in the United States. First, it’s the leading driver of tooth loss. Second, gum disease is highly preventable and treatable, especially in the early stages.
At Hillsdale Dental Care, our team, which is led by Dr. Magdalena Azzarelli and Dr. Roge Jacob, wants to focus on the second part of our message, while using the first as motivation. In other words, if you want to hold onto your teeth, it’s worth reading on to learn as much as you can about recognizing, preventing, and treating gum disease.
Gum disease basics and stages
Gum disease, which is also called periodontitis, is a condition in which harmful bacteria get under your gums and eat away at both the hard and soft tissues. This is a very basic explanation of a progressive condition that tends to develop in four stages, including:
During this first stage of gum disease, you have some swelling around your gum line, and you might feel a little tenderness or experience some bleeding when you brush your teeth.
2. Mild periodontitis
Bacteria start to get under your gums and the soft tissues start to pull away from your teeth, This allows bacteria-harboring pockets to form.
3. Moderate periodontitis
The bacteria continue to erode your teeth and gums, as well as other connective tissues that hold your teeth in place. At this point, you may notice gum recession and tenderness, as well as loose teeth.
4. Advanced periodontitis
During this final stage of gum disease, you may have considerable bone loss and your teeth can fall out. Your gums may become badly infected, with pus, and you can have bad breath.
Best steps for gum disease
What we want to emphasize most in this blog post is that we can stop gum disease in its tracks during the earlier stages. For example, professional cleanings with us twice a year are enough to resolve any developing gingivitis. If we notice that pockets are starting to form in your gums, we can turn to a deeper cleaning procedure called root planing and scaling.
The longer your gum disease goes untreated, the more aggressive we have to become to preserve your dental health. With moderate to advanced gum disease, we may have to turn to surgical procedures like bone grafting and pocket reduction.
If we’re unable to get in there to treat the gum disease, your final treatment options become tooth extraction and then tooth replacement.
So, the takeaway is simple. To prevent gum disease from robbing you of your teeth, it’s important that you:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Rinse between meals
- Schedule twice yearly cleanings with us
- Recognize the signs of early gum disease and see us as soon as possible
If you have more questions about gum disease or you’d like to get started on prevention with a dental exam, please contact our office in San Jose, California.