Gum disease is inflammation of the gums and the surrounding structures. In the beginning stages it is called gingivitis when it is limited to only the superficial area of the gums. When it starts affecting the bone under the gum line, it is then called periodontitis (which occurs if the gingivitis is left untreated). If the periodontitis is left untreated, it eventually leads to a periodontal abscess and loss of the tooth. Periodontitis is classified into early, moderate, and advanced depending on how advanced the disease and bone loss around the tooth.
Basically a tooth’s root is supported by bone and that is covered with the gum.
Gum disease is usually not painful and can go all the way to an abscess before it causes you any problem. Hence the term “Silent Killer”. The symptoms you might see are redness, bad breath, bleeding on brushing, sensitivity, floss getting stuck, food getting stuck in between your teeth etc. As it progresses the symptoms worsen but usually there is no pain till it reaches the stage of an abscess. There are some medical conditions such as Diabetes, epilepsy, auto immune diseases, smoking, improper diet, pregnancy and hormonal changes which make gum disease progress faster and more difficult to control.
Prevention is easy. It requires good home care and regular maintenance (brushing, flossing, mouth wash, proper diet, enough water intake).
Treatment usually involves a proper diagnosis with x-rays and probing. At the regular visits to the dentist, the teeth and gums are checked and cleaned . All the plaque and tartar are removed and the teeth are polished. Dr. Bogg and her dental staff will also give you oral hygiene instructions tailored to your needs . If the diagnosis is Periodontitis, scaling and root planning may be needed (deep cleaning). Sometimes, depending on the stage of the disease, medications – local as well as systemic, may be used to control it. If systemic factors are an influencing factor, it is important to control them to keep the gums healthy and more frequent check ups might be advised. The treatment at the office is may be 5 % of the overall treatment. The other 95% is home care.