Gum disease occurs when gum tissue becomes infected. Symptoms include red or swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing. Left untreated, the infection that causes gum disease can spread to the bone tissue that supports the teeth. As the infection breaks down bone tissue, tooth loss can eventually occur. Dr. Petra Mayer, the experienced periodontist at our practice in Albuquerque, NM, can treat gum disease, restore gum health, and help prevent tooth loss.
Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can develop when plaque and tartar are not removed from the teeth. Both plaque and tartar contain bacteria that can infect the gums. When plaque is left on the teeth it eventually hardens into tartar, which bonds to tooth enamel and can only be completely removed through a professional dental cleaning.
The gums are especially at risk of becoming infected when plaque and tartar have formed just below the gum line where the teeth are harder to clean. If not cleared away, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar can eventually spread to the gums. Once infected, several symptoms can develop. See that skilled periodontist at our office in Albuquerque, NM, for treatment if you develop any of the following signs of gum disease:
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily when brushing
- An abscess in the gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Sensitive gums
- Loose teeth
One of the possible side effects of gum disease is tooth loss. Left untreated, the bacteria that initially infected the gums can spread to the bone that supports the teeth. As infected bone tissue deteriorates, it can no longer hold the teeth firmly in place. The teeth begin to loosen and, eventually, tooth loss can occur. Seeking treatment when you notice the warning signs of gum disease, such as swollen or receding gums, can stop the infection from spreading and help prevent tooth loss.
Once teeth are lost, a number of additional side effects can result. The teeth serve many functions beyond biting and chewing food. They also provide support for muscles in the face and help guide the tongue when speaking. Without enough teeth to support facial muscles, the cheeks can begin to droop and sag. Speech can also be affected. Without teeth to guide the tongue, it can slip into the gaps where teeth are gone and change the way you sound when speaking.
Another side effect of tooth loss is excess wear and tear on the remaining teeth, which must compensate for the missing ones. When biting and chewing functions are not distributed across a full set of teeth, the existing teeth endure more strain and can be worn down more quickly.
When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can lead to additional oral health problems, including tooth loss. Dr. Mayer can develop a plan for treating gum disease and restoring gum health. To schedule an appointment with our exceptional periodontist, call the office in Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 881-2400.