Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a common condition among Americans. As many as 75% have some form of it, and yet they may be unaware of this fact because gum disease is typically painless. Despite this absence of pain, gum disease can wreak serious havoc on your dental health.
What is dental gum disease?
By definition, gum disease is a type of infection that starts in the gums and then spreads underneath the gums as well as into the jaw bone that supports and surrounds the tooth.
Your teeth are connected or sealed to your teeth, and the area where the two meet is attacked daily by a mixture of bacteria and saliva called plaque. Left unchecked, the bacteria will begin destroying this seal, creating gaps or pockets where germs can proliferate. These germs then cause swelling or bleeding gums and even destroy the actual tooth root.
Dental gum disease can destroy the tissue and bone that surround your teeth, and this can cause the tooth to become painful, and it’s also common for the disease to cause bad breath and negatively affect your smile. Ultimately, allowing gum disease to spread in your mouth can cause your teeth to become loose and fall off.
Does dental gum disease go away?
If your dentist identifies gum disease as the culprit behind your poor dental health, you can be assured of an effective solution. Periodontal disease can be effectively treated and eliminated; the dentist’s aim is to rebuild the seal that connects the gums and the teeth as well as to restore and maintain a healthy mouth.
There are typically two treatment stages:
- The infection is cleaned out from underneath the gums. The dentist performs the following:
- Root planing (smoothing the rough tooth root surface until it becomes glass-like)
- Scaling (removing the tartar)
- Curettage (removing the diseases inner lining of the pockets created by bacteria)
- If there are areas that failed to establish the seal between the teeth and gums, minor surgical techniques must then be applied.
It’s important to understand that while pockets remain, they will be re-infected with plaque daily, so the key task to implement is to learn how to clean them out daily through brushing, flossing and using a rubber tip. In addition, a specially trained hygienist can clean out these pockets every three months until the secondary treatment stage can be initiated.
Gum disease is a dental problem that can be eradicated, as long as you are diligent about keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy, and you have a skilled dental professional at your side.