Don’t let an oral infection go untreated
Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue and affects 1 in 5 Americans. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, permanent bone loss, and can contribute to systemic issues like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. If you live in the Midlothian, Virginia area, come see us at Hawkins Family Dentistry for a routine periodontal exam.
The stages of gum disease
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is caused by plaque buildup around the gum line which causes inflammation. Gums will appear red and swollen and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss. At this point, gingivitis can be reversed. The bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have not yet been affected.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the infection progresses into periodontitis. At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums will begin to form pockets that that trap food, plaque, and bacteria. Your gums may begin to recede, forming gaps between your teeth. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and tooth loss.
In the final stage of gum disease, the bacteria that has been allowed to spread has destroyed the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. The pockets that formed in the previous stage have become much deeper. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. Loose teeth that move around in the mouth may affect your bite. At this state, aggressive treatment is needed to save the teeth
Don’t ignore signs of gum disease
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, or if you find that you are unable to get rid of bad breath, it may be a sign of gum disease.
Gum disease symptoms often include:
- Red or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
What happens if gum disease goes untreated?
If left untreated gum disease can be devastating. Some long-term effects may include:
- Loss of teeth
- Recession of gums
- Loss of bone
- Gum disease can contribute to or intensify systemic issues like diabetes and heart disease
The oral-systemic link
Research is showing the undeniable contribution of gum disease to systemic disease. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, low birth weight, and dementia have all shown strong connections to the health of the gums. Periodontal disease is a disease that affects the entire body and should not be taken lightly.
How did I get gum disease?
There are many reasons you may be experiencing gum disease. The primary risk factors include:
- Smoking habits
- Oral hygiene habits
- Systemic Disease
- Medication use
How do you treat someone with gum disease?
LANAP Laser Treatment
LANAP or Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure is the only FDA approved laser treatment for the elimination of gum disease. The unique dental laser removes the infected gum tissue and tartar under the gum line. The laser also disinfects the area, selectively killing all bacteria that then allows for new, healthy bone to grow. The small, sterile wound is then sealed to the root surface.
- No incisions or stitches
- No bleeding or swelling
- Minimal to no pain
- No gum recession
- No tooth sensitivity
- Actual regrowth of bone and attachment
- Reduction of deep pockets
- Patients that have diabetes, bleeding disorders or are on medications, such as blood thinners can be treated safely