Gum disease is rampant in the United States and can cause major issues to your teeth, gums, bone, and overall health. An estimated 80% percent of American adults have some level of gum disease. If left unchecked, gum disease can cause the loss of teeth, leading to additional dental treatments and complications. Gum disease (periodontal disease) can be prevented and managed if corrective measures are taken before it is too late.
The plaque that forms on our teeth is actually caused by bacteria that forms into a sticky film. If plaque is not regularly removed, it turns into tartar (calculus), which can only be removed by a professional. Tartar collects more plaque and causes inflammation in the gums, which is called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into periodontal disease that eats away at the gums. The body begins fighting disease, and the resulting enzymes can begin damaging the bone necessitating the need for bone treatment solutions.
There are many warning signs that gum disease may be advancing:
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, check with our Colorado Springs dentist, Dr. Harrison, immediately to see if you have an advancing form of gum disease.
The best way to stave off gum disease is with regular maintenance. Good dental hygiene includes the following:
You should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing removes the daily buildup of plaque before it turns into tartar.
Flossing &/Or Hydroflossing
Flossing once a day removes the plaque buildup between your teeth, which is usually unreachable with brushing.
The only way to remove a buildup of plaque and tartar is by prophylaxis, the professional cleaning procedure performed at a dentist office. These regular cleanings remove existing buildup so the gums stay healthy or can repair.
Eating a Well-Balanced Diet
Diet plays a big role in our dental health. Foods that are high in sugar create more plaque, which can lead to gum disease.
All tobacco products are poison for your gums. Just add your dental health onto the list of reasons to quit using tobacco.
If gum disease does advance to a point where serious gum and bone decay is taking place, Colorado Laser Dentistry offers an array of gum and bone treatment options that can help.
When the bone has decayed, the teeth are removed and new bone can be grafted in to allow for implants to be used.
This treatment can be used to pare back the gums to expose more of the underlying teeth.
Surgery to remove the frenum—the fold of skin attaching either the upper lip and gums or the lower lip and tongue—which can become necessary if it interferes feeding in infants and when it interferes with speech or begins pulling the gums away from the teeth in older patients.
Soft Tissue Graft
The soft tissue that is unattached to the bone can be replaced by grafting on new tissue. This can restore the gums to prevent further damage.
Scaling and Root Planing
Sometimes a deep cleaning method called scaling and root planing can remove plaque buildup and reduce the spread of gum disease. In some cases, medication is also used.
Sometimes a procedure called a sinus lift is necessary if there isn’t sufficient bone below the sinus to implant new teeth. The sinus is lifted, allowing bone to be grafted in and teeth to be implanted.
Periodontal Plastic Surgery
Many Colorado Springs dental surgeries that involve the gums and bone can be considered plastic surgery. Some are done for cosmetic reasons, others to fix issues causing damage.
The FDA gave marketing clearance to the WaterLase in 2004 for the treatment of periodontal disease. REPaiR is a laser assisted, minimally invasive procedure proving to be highly successful in saving teeth from loss due to gum disease.
Keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular cleanings with Colorado Laser Dentistry to avoid the effects of gum disease. If more serious gum and bone issues develop, give us a call right away at (719) 528-6222 to schedule a consultation.