What You Need to Know About Gum Disease and Gum Recession?
If you have never been told that you have any form of gum disease, consider yourself lucky. Gum disease is almost an invisible disease and is VERY silent when it starts. This means that many patients do NOT even know that they have it until they have their regularly scheduled checkup. Once periodontal disease does set in, it only takes a short time until the side effects are known and become irreparable.
Gum disease is also called periodontal disease and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. There are multiple stages of the disease, all of which begin with an initial infection of the gums that works its way into the ligaments and bones that support each one of the teeth.
The first stages of gum disease are often detected at your checkup, as mentioned above. However, cases of gum disease that are left untreated will become apparent soon as the disease starts to take over. More than HALF of all adults and more than three-quarters of those over 35 have some type of periodontal disease right now.
Below, Dr. Riopelle will discuss some of the signs of periodontal disease, discuss how it can be treated, and talk to you about receding gums. If you have any questions or you would like to schedule an appointment with us, call our San Ramon office today.
What is the Cause of Periodontal Disease?
The major cause of the disease is how the plaque and bacteria in your mouth react to one another. The bacteria cause toxins to form and these toxins irritate and inflame the gums. It is this process that then destroys the gum tissue and causes the gums to separate from your teeth. If you do not seek out treatment, the bone will be affected as well.
Plaque that is not removed from your teeth regularly will form a hard substance known as tartar. If this tartar forms below the gum line, it irritates the gums even further and causes more issues. Only a dental hygienist or dentist can remove the tartar from your teeth.
There are several factors that can contribute to how severe periodontal disease is and that includes:
- Food that is impacted between your teeth
- Poorly fitting bridges
- Smoking or chewing tobacco products
- Certain medications
- Poor oral hygiene
- Diseases such as AIDS or diabetes
- Badly aligned teeth
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Defective fillings
- Oral contraceptives and pregnancy
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
While you may not notice the earliest symptoms of gum disease, the symptoms will progress and become quite apparent. Some of the most common symptoms experienced include:
- Tooth loss
- Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
- Swollen, red, and tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that are loose or teeth that have shifted in place
- Teeth that have gums receding on them
- Pus in between the gums and teeth
- Changes in the way your dentures fit or how your teeth fit when you bite down
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Dr. Riopelle wants you to call our San Ramon office immediately if you think that you have periodontal disease. It CAN be treated but the longer you wait, the more severe the symptoms. Gum disease is treated with a deep cleaning that cleans the tooth’s roots and this is known as root planing and scaling. The procedure is extensive and will take several visits to our office.
Often, if there are deep pocket formations or the periodontal disease is in advanced stages, medication may be required.
What About Receding Gums?
Gums that are receding may alarm you and you may be confused as to why. Often, many people consider it a slow sign of aging, but, there may be a deeper reason for it. While aging and aggressive toothbrushing CAN cause the gums to recede, so can periodontal disease. Since three out of every four adults have gum disease, it is no surprise that gum recession goes unnoticed until the later stages.
In the earliest stages of gum disease, you will likely notice that your gums are swollen and red. At this stage, the disease can be reversed without any major issues. As the disease does continue to progress and go untreated, irreparable damage occurs and it can destroy both the tissues and bones that support your teeth. In these situations, teeth typically fall out or are broken and severely damaged. Periodontitis is the main reason why over 70% of adults 40 and older experience tooth loss.
While this all sounds scary and it can be, Dr. Riopelle is here to help and wants you to know that your gums and teeth will stay healthy if you practice good oral hygiene. Receding gums can be prevented by utilizing a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth and you should ONLY brush in a mild to moderate pressure circular motion. You want to ALWAYS AVOID excessive pressure or long horizontal brush strokes.
If you have noticed that your gums are receding, or they have already receded, you may need a graft to cover up the exposed root as it can cause sensitivity or become fragile over time and lead to further recession of the gum and maybe even tooth loss.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Riopelle Today
Whether you have good oral health, poor oral health, or receding gums, it is time for you to schedule an appointment with our San Ramon office to have your dental health checked. Dr. Riopelle will guide you and provide you with the dental cleanings you need, education about how to prevent gum disease, and treatment for periodontal disease or receding gums. Don’t wait another moment and do not wait until you have reached the irreparable stage of gum disease and schedule your appointment with us today.
We want to see a beautiful and healthy smile on your face!