Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – is a serious infection and the number one reason why adults lose teeth. As gum disease advances, the infection can destroy the ligaments and bone that support your teeth.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
- Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss.
- Your gums may be soft, swollen, or tender.
- Your gums may start to pull away from your teeth.
- Your teeth may become loose.
- You may have persistent bad breath.
It is also possible to have no noticeable symptoms. In fact, most people who have gum disease are not even aware of it.
What causes gum disease?
The main cause of gum disease is the long term buildup of plaque: the sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.
It is hard to see plaque, but plaque can clearly be seen after it is stained with a disclosing tablet. When plaque stays on your teeth for two or three days, it hardens into something called calculus, or tartar.
The bacteria in plaque invades the spaces between your teeth and gums and produce toxins. These toxins, combined with your body’s reaction to them, destroy the bone around your teeth. And once lost, bone never grows back on its own.
If there is not enough support for the teeth and they become loose, they might have to be removed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine if you have a gum disease, we perform a thorough examination which includes taking x-rays to determine how much bone has been lost.
We measure the depth of the sulcus – a tiny groove between the tooth and gum – with a probe. A reading of more than 3 millimeters could be a sign of gum disease, and we pay careful attention to those areas.
If we find gum disease, we will discuss your treatment options and provide proper home care instructions. We want to help you maintain the health of your teeth, gums and bone and restore your healthy smile.