Did you know that dentists deal with much more than just teeth? Gums, face muscles, and even the bones of the jaw are all part of what we take care of, as we work to keep you healthy.
Periodontics is the subclass of dentistry that deals with everything directly adjacent to your teeth. The way your gums fit around them, as well as the health of those gums, is extremely important to the continued well-being of your teeth.
Here at our office, we keep an eye out for any signs of gum disease, and head it off before it can cause serious damage.
What is Gum Disease?
Simply put, gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, due to a bacterial film called plaque. Plaque forms in every single human mouth, regardless of our genes or daily habits. Consistent daily oral hygiene, such as proper brushing and flossing, disturbs this bacteria, therefore preventing it from causing any harm to the gum tissue.
However, hygiene practices that are either inconsistent, insufficient, or non-existent will allow this biofilm to grow and flourish. It secretes toxins that irritate gum tissue, builds up into thicker layers, and eventually hardens into a mineralized form called tartar.
Tartar is, inconveniently, the perfect surface for even more plaque to collect. It is important to get rid of tartar and keep the mouth free of plaque in order to prevent the irritation in your gums from developing into gum disease.
There are two main stages of gum disease:
This is the first and most mild form. It is characterized by temperature sensitivity, redness, swollen gum tissue, bleeding with little to no provocation, and minor toothaches.
Taken by themselves, most of these symptoms are quite easily ignored. They do not immediately cause any serious problems in the mouth. However, gingivitis, if left untreated, will develop into a more serious form of gum disease, which can go so far as to threaten tooth loss and bone recession in the jaw.
Periodontitis is quite serious. By the time gum disease has developed this far, gums and bone material begin to recede. This not only opens up pockets for even more plaque and tartar to form along the surface of the tooth, but actually loosens the tooth in its socket. The possibility of losing teeth to periodontitis is very real.
Fortunately, the early stages of gum disease are easy to recognize and are entirely reversible. Daily oral hygiene, when used consistently and properly, will keep most of the bacterial plaque at bay.
Tartar, on the other hand, cannot be removed at home. Once it forms, it must be cleaned and scaled away by a professional.
This is a process that we are pleased to offer here at Coleman Burgess, DDS. If you show any of the signs of gum disease, give us a call now. We’ll get your gums healthy again as soon as possible.