Here’s a statistic that may surprise you: An estimated 65 million adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease. Since February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, it’s a perfect time to learn more about the serious impact of this common condition. You may not know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. In addition, it’s been found to increase the risk of many other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. Now that you know the importance of gum disease awareness in Carrollton, keep reading to learn about the signs of gum disease, how it’s diagnosed, and what treatment options are available. You’ll be doing something good for both your smile and overall health!
What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is similar to diabetes or high blood pressure in that it’s a “silent disease. ” But even though it isn’t painful, there are still warning signs:
- Early stages – Also called gingivitis, this stage includes symptoms like bleeding after brushing and flossing or swollen or tender gums. Fortunately, gingivitis can usually be reversed with regular checkups and good oral hygiene habits.
- Advanced stages – If gingivitis isn’t caught and treated early enough, it can progress to moderate or severe gum disease (also called periodontitis). In these stages, you can have chronic bad breath, loose teeth, and receding gums, or it might feel painful to chew. Advanced gum disease can’t be reversed or cured – but it can be stabilized to prevent further progression and tooth loss.
How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?
The best way to find out if you have gum disease is to schedule regular 6-month checkups. Either a dentist or hygienist will evaluate your gums once a year at these visits so they can find gum disease in it’s earliest stages and recommend the appropriate treatment.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
There are several types of periodontal therapy in Carrollton that a dentist may recommend:
- Scaling and root planing – Also called a “deep cleaning,” this is usually the first recommended treatment. It’s usually done in 2-4 appointments and you’ll be numbed beforehand for comfort. A deep cleaning will remove the tartar and bacteria under the gumline and smooth the roots to prevent bacteria from re-accumulating.
- Pocket Irrigation – This procedure is very effective and involves the use of a special tool to flush out the bacteria from under the gumline where you can’t reach with a toothbrush or floss.
- Antibiotic therapy – Different types of antibiotics can be used, depending on your situation. In addition to an oral antibiotic for acute cases, a topical antibiotic powder or gel can be placed directly under the gums to kill the bacteria that cause gum disease. This is typically recommended after a deep cleaning or pocket irrigation procedure.
The consequences of gum disease are serious. But, with regular dental care and the right treatment, many of them can be avoided!
About the Author
As a dentist in Carrollton and a graduate of The New York University College of Dentistry, Dr. Rajiv Shekhadiya knows how important healthy gums are to his patients’ smiles. He combines many years of experience with the latest treatments to deliver outstanding gum disease therapy. If you have any questions about your gums, he can be reached via his website.