Have you ever wondered if you have gum disease? Because gum disease is an ongoing condition that affects nearly half of all American adults, everyone should be familiar with the signs of the disease, as well as which treatments can be used to reverse the issue.
Gum disease is caused by simple plaque and tartar buildup. When you eat and drink, microscopic food and sugar particles collect on your teeth, creating a sticky film called plaque. If plaque isn’t removed within a few days through careful brushing and flossing, tartar can form, which is impossible to remove on your own. Plaque and tartar harbor oral bacteria that creates endotoxins as they multiply, which sparks an inflammatory reaction in the gum tissue. As a natural response to the pathogen, your gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth, creating gingival pockets that can harbor even more bacteria. Eventually, the bacteria can leach into your bloodstream, sparking systemic problems and jeopardizing your overall health. However, every stage of gum disease is treatable by our qualified Westcheter periodontists.
Gum disease is very subtle at first, causing easy-to-ignore symptoms like bleeding gums or bad breath. However, if issues aren’t treated proactively, gum disease can quickly progress into periodontal disease, which can cause problems like tooth and bone loss. Here is an explanation of each stage of gum disease, and why visiting with your periodontist is crucial.
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Gingivitis is marked by bad breath, gums that bleed easily, and inflammation. At this stage, the gingival pockets are only 2-4 millimeters deep when measured with a periodontal probe, which means that your gums might feel slightly looser when you brush.
Mild or early periodontitis causes ongoing inflammation, bad breath, and early bone loss. People with early periodontitis might notice gums that look strange or that start to recede. When measured with a periodontal probe, gum tissue affected with mild periodontitis is between 4-5 millimeters deep.
If mild periodontitis is left untreated, it can turn into moderate periodontitis, which can cause bleeding gums, infections, and even significant levels of bone loss. Gingival depths in people with moderate periodontitis are as much as 6-7 millimeters deep, causing loosened, uncomfortable teeth.
If you have severe periodontitis, you may start to lose teeth and bone tissue. The shape of your face can change because of a jaw that slowly melts away. When teeth are lost, the other teeth in your mouth can shift to fill the space, causing gaps. Gingival pocket depths are more than 7 millimeters, and gum tissue may be visibly infected.
Periodontists are gum disease experts, studying the diagnosis and progression of the disease for an additional three years after traditional dental school. In addition to being able to identify the symptoms of gum disease quickly, periodontists are also experts at treating the condition, restoring the smile, and helping patients to ward off future problems. Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale has two in-house Scarsdale periodontists to help you to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.Request My Appointment
To determine the best way to treat your periodontitis, your periodontist will start by conducting a comprehensive periodontal exam. During these checkups, your doctor will carefully evaluate the health of your teeth, gums, and oral tissues, in addition to inspecting things like your bite. Periodontal probes will be used to check the depth of your gingival pockets, and diagnostic tools like X-rays will be used to look for underlying infections. After your Westchester periodontist understands your level of dental health, one or more of these treatments may be recommended.
Your Scarsdale periodontist may recommend at-home dental hygiene changes, such as more frequent or in-depth brushing or flossing. Most cases of early gingivitis can be reversed through more careful oral hygiene regimens.
To keep bacteria from accumulating on the teeth or within the gingival pockets, your Westchester periodontist might recommend a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and planing. During scaling and planing, the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned above and below the gumline, and the area is smoothed to eliminate pitting.
Medications such as antibiotics can be used to control gingivitis, which is why your periodontist might recommend a tray delivery system. After a custom tray is made for your smile, you may be instructed to wear the trays with a special solution. Some patients can also benefit from antibacterial mouthwashes used in conjunction with normal dental hygiene routines.If you suspect that you are struggling with gum disease, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your periodontist in Westchester today.