Periodontal (gum) disease is an American epidemic: millions of people across the country are affected, and many of these victims don’t even know they have a problem. Maybe you’re one of those victims, going about your day blissfully unaware that your diseased gums are ruining your teeth and putting you at higher risk for heart disease all the while.
In our review of periodontal disease, we’ll go over all the symptoms and risk factors so that you know if there are reasonable enough concerns over the state of your personal oral health situation to justify investing time and money in a trip to the dentist.
The most obvious risk factor for gum disease is lack of proper oral hygiene. When your dentist tells you to brush and floss, they’re not kidding: if you don’t scrub food off your teeth, the plaque build-up will eventually harden into dental calculus (better known as tartar) in just a few days. Once tartar takes hold, it becomes so difficult to clean off that you can’t even do it without professional tools.
You’ll want to get that tartar off, because if you don’t then any tartar that forms above the gum line will attract bacteria and put you at a much greater risk of developing gum disease.
Even if you really are doing everything right, don’t think that checkups at the dentist are optional. The symptoms of periodontal disease are often unnoticeable, that is they’re unnoticeable until you have a real problem. A simple checkup at the dentist is all it takes to fix issues before they develop into much worse complications.
Another obvious risk factor is smoking. Smoking irritates the soft tissues of the mouth. Constant irritations leads to inflammation, and constant inflammation can develop into some really nasty problems. Here’s a quick stat that illustrates just how much smoking contributes to gum disease: even though only 18% of the US population smokes regularly, over 55% of those with periodontal disease are current smokers.
Also, age: older people are more likely to be in a state of poor oral health. According to the CDC, 70% of people over the age of 65 suffer from some form of gum disease.
Periodontal disease burdens its victims with a wide array of symptoms, which range from the mildly uncomfortable to the truly quality-of-life changing (for the worse). These symptoms include:
• Bad breath/funky taste in the mouth
• Receding gums
• Bleeding or inflamed gums
• Tooth decay
• Pain while eating, talking, or brushing/flossing
• Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications
Scaling and Root Planning: neglect your oral health and pockets will develop between the gum and the tooth. This empty space provides a fine place for tartar to spread and bacteria to thrive, and that bacteria build-up will contribute to tooth decay and gum damage. Dr. Safarian uses tiny and sharp tools to scale and plane (scrape) away any tartar that’s found a home below the gum line to the root of the tooth
Laser Therapy: those tiny and sharp tools aren’t the only tartar-removing pieces of equipment available to your dentist. Laser therapy is another effective way to remove plaque and calculus, and it can also be used to improve the appearance of receding gums
Bone grafting: periodontal disease can damage bone material in the mandible and surrounding areas. In cases of significant bone loss, it may be necessary to graft new bone to the most damaged areas to the weakened structure
Proactive solutions: we’re equipped to handle the absolute worst-case gum disease scenario, but we’d rather fix underlying causes of gum disease before they develop into actual gum disease. This will save you from a lot of pain, and you’ll also save a lot of money if you maintain your teeth over the long-term instead of treating serious problems as they pop up. Don’t miss your checkups!
Experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of periodontal disease? The sooner you make an effort to take care of it, the sooner you’ll be relieved of the irritation and pain.
Contact Irresistible Smiles at (858) 755-8993 [San Diego] or (619) 656-6785 [Chula Vista] for more information or to book an appointment.