Gum (periodontal) disease is a severe condition that affects more than your oral hygiene. Gum disease has been related to heart disease, dementia, hormonal changes, and HIV. Identifying gum disease in its early stages is critical. For more information about gum disease, contact Dr. Petra Mayer in Albuquerque, NM.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the result of tissue infection. Frequently, gum disease can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene or smoking. Additional factors that lead to gum disease include the following:
- Heredity factors
- Crooked teeth
- Defective fillings
- Dry mouth, mainly if caused by medications
- Ill-fitting bridges
Lack of brushing and flossing causes a build-up of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on the teeth that hardens and forms tartar.
Plaque consists of bacteria, mucus, and other particles. Once it hardens into tartar, only a professional dentist or hygienist can remove the tartar. For treatment, contact Dr. Mayer in Albuquerque, NM.
As the condition worsens, you can develop sore, bleeding gums, pain when chewing, and tooth damage or loss.
Symptoms of gum disease
You should contact your dentist as soon as possible if you develop any of the following symptoms.
- Bad breath that doesn't respond to the usual treatment
- Gums that become red, swollen, tender or begin to bleed
- Painful chewing
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost half of adults over age 30 have some form of gum disease. As you age, chances of gum disease increase.
Diagnosis of gum disease
Once you suspect symptoms of gum disease, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine any potential damage and extent of the disease.
The examination will begin by searching for signs of gum inflammation. The dentist will check and measure the pockets surrounding the teeth. If your gums are healthy, the pockets are usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. The dentist will also want to know your medical history, particularly conditions such as diabetes and smoking, that can increase your risk of gum disease. Your dentist may also take x-rays to see if there is bone loss.
Treatment in Albuquerque, NM
Controlling the infection is the first step. All procedures require that you maintain daily care of good oral hygiene. There are multiple methods, but the best approach is, to begin with non-surgical treatments.
Non-surgical treatments include scaling and root cleaning. This process removes plaque and tartar for deep pockets and removes bacterial toxins from the tooth's root. Dentists also provide custom trays that you can use to deliver medication at home.
Surgical treatments include the following methods.
- Grafting to replace damaged gum tissue
- Treating with laster instead of scaling and root cleaning
- Regenerating bone and tissue loss
- Reshaping gum and bone to expose more of the crown
- Replacing lost teeth with dental implants
Determining the best treatment to maintain your oral health should be discussed with your dentist. You should be aware of the symptoms and immediately contact your dentist if you notice gum disease symptoms.
For more information about gum disease, call Dr. Mayer in Albuquerque at (505) 881-2400.