What is Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease?
Adults in their 30s and beyond, the threat of gum disease (periodontal disease) is a very real and potentially dangerous condition. Over 70% of the nation’s population has some stage of the disease by the age of 40. Although genetics may play a small role in its development, doctors agree that gum disease is directly related to how well one cares for their teeth and gums. Gum disease is particularly dangerous because the progression of the disease is often painless and undetected until it creates serious problems.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is a gradual infection of the gums and eventually the underlying bones of the mouth. It is caused by the build up of plaque on and around the teeth that eventually calcifies into tartar. This tartar releases bacteria, which contains toxins and a sulfur compound that slowly decay the teeth and gums. In the first stage of gum disease (known as gingivitis), the bacteria begin to weaken the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth. Gingivitis is characterized by a swelling, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums. In the advanced stage of gum disease (referred to as periodontitis), the gum tissues have decayed significantly and have pulled away from teeth. The bones below the teeth have usually become infected and begun to dissolve.
The Procedure to treat Gum Disease
Treatments to alleviate the effects of gum disease depend on the severity of the tooth and gum erosion. Dr. Kamel begins by removing the diseased tissue, scraping the tartar and plaque from the tooth’s surface and from below the gum line. The root of the tooth may need to be planed and smoothed in order to allow gum tissue to properly heal. If deep spaces between the teeth and gums have formed as a result of periodontitis, re-evaluation in three months will be needed.
The ravages of gum disease are best prevented by early detection and proper dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day helps to remove the thin layer of bacteria that release the dangerous toxins into your mouth. Flossing or other interdental cleansing is also important to keep your mouth free from residual food and bacteria. Finally, maintaining a balanced diet and taking regular trips to the dentist helps stem the advance of gum disease and keeps you healthy and smiling.