What Causes Gum Disease?

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 create endotoxins as they multiply, which sparks an inflammatory reaction in the gum tissue. As a natural response to the pathogen, your gum tissue pulls 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 periodontists.

Although good oral hygiene can help reduce your risk of gum disease, there is also a strong genetic component in gum disease risk, especially regarding your body’s inflammatory response.

Periodontists: Experts In Periodontal Disease

To become a periodontist, dentists must complete dental school and then apply for a periodontal residency. They will spend an extra 2-3 years learning more about periodontal disease, oral anatomy, and the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

General and family dentists often call on periodontists to handle complex cases of gum disease or the placement of dental implants. As true experts in dentistry, periodontists are essential for maintaining a healthy smile. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends visiting your periodontist at least once a year for a comprehensive periodontal exam. During these exams, your doctor will check the health of your teeth, gums, and underlying bone tissue. If he spots any problems, your periodontist will be able to address them early. Here are a few of the different ways periodontists help their patients.

Our periodontist Dr. Loshak is committed to treating gum disease before it results in tooth loss or cancer. He graduated from Maryland Dental School and then practiced post-graduate at Booth Memorial Medical Center and Columbia University of Dental and Oral Surgeries. He works hard to “pave the way” for restorative dental care! His certifications and experience in the periodontal field make Dr. Loshak one of the best Westchester periodontists.

Early Detection of Gum Disease in Westchester NY

An important part of our philosophy at Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale is to provide our patients with quality dental care for a beautiful, long-lasting smile. Our facility is one of the few in Westchester with multiple clinicians specializing in various fields. With periodontics and prosthodontics specialists available in one convenient location, we can help you with anything you need regarding your dental health.

Our trained professionals are also experts in early detection and preventive dental care. If dental decay and disease are spotted quickly, you have broader treatment options, including less expensive and invasive solutions. Preventive care like this is the reason our patients call us one of the best dentists in Westchester! If you feel like you could benefit from an early detection consultation, don’t hesitate–call our offices today for a quick consultation appointment.

How Does Early Detection Work?

The early detection treatment plan begins with a simple dental checkup! Every time you visit our offices for a cleaning or regular checkup (or an early detection appointment), we will conduct a thorough exam that detects potential problems before they become full-blown.

Patients will receive full mouth x-rays and a thorough visual inspection to determine if cavities, plaque, or tartar are an issue of concern for your teeth. Because we have a talented and diverse dental staff, we can detect even the smallest issues.

Benefits of Early Detection

Gum disease affects as many as 47.2% of Americans. Fortunately, it is easily preventable. Gum disease occurs when gum tissue becomes inflamed or infected. The disease is often thought to develop when healthy brushing and flossing methods aren’t practiced in daily life but can happen to anyone who doesn’t frequent the dentist. In addition, there is a genetic component to gum disease risk. If other family members have had trouble with gum disease, you are more likely to develop it, too. Early detection is even more important if you have a severe gum disease family history.

If gum disease goes untreated, it can result in cancers of the mouth and other areas of the body. Your dental health is reflected throughout the rest of your body, and gum disease can result in heart disease, diabetes, and even a stroke. It’s been proven that regular dental care can detect early signs of mouth cancer (usually a small white sore that won’t go away), providing patients with effective and diverse treatment options. Prevent cancer and other health issues by treating gum disease before it becomes an issue.

What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?

Gum disease is very subtle initially, 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.

  1. Gingivitis – 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.
  2. Mild Periodontitis – Mild or early periodontitis causes ongoing inflammation, bad breath, and early bone loss. People with early periodontitis might notice gums that look strange or start receding. When measured with a periodontal probe, gum tissue affected with mild periodontitis is 4-5 millimeters deep.
  3. Moderate Periodontitis – 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.
  4. Severe Periodontitis – 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.

Sometimes people may hover at one stage of gum disease for years without progressing. Others may rapidly progress from one stage to another, risking their teeth and health. It’s important not to get care for gum disease early to avoid serious consequences.

Gum Disease Prevention and Detection in Westchester

Gum disease can affect anyone, affecting more and more of us as we age. Protecting yourself against gum disease can help you stay healthier and happier for years. To maintain good oral and overall health, please call (914) 725-7100 or use our online form to request an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale.