Gum — or periodontal — disease is a pervasive problem. It’s so widespread that nearly half of American adults have some form of the condition, which is also the leading cause of tooth loss. Unfortunately, people often fail to recognize the signs of this serious disease or understand the problems that can arise without treatment.
Daniel Park, DDS, offers expert general, esthetic, and periodontic dental services at Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California. At his practice, your smile is his top priority; but it doesn’t stop there. Dr. Park also helps patients understand how their oral health contributes to their physical wellness, especially when it comes to gum disease.
Here’s what you should know about this serious oral health problem and why it’s best to catch it early.
The problem with periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is a condition in which gum tissue is infected and inflamed. It develops because bacteria build up in the mouth, resulting in a substance called plaque. If ignored, plaque can harden into tartar, which requires professional removal.
Since plaque and tartar contain bacteria, the longer it stays on your teeth, the more problems it can cause, including:
- Purplish, reddish, or swollen gum tissue
- Bleeding, tenderness, or pain
- Receding gum tissue or loose teeth
- Changes in how your teeth look or fit together
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Tooth and jawbone loss
Bacteria in your mouth can also enter your bloodstream, which can put you at risk for systemic health problems. This can cause a multitude of complications, such as premature delivery, respiratory issues, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Recognizing periodontal disease
The damage caused by periodontal disease happens gradually, which makes early intervention crucial for reversing the condition.
If you have healthy gums, they shouldn’t bleed or swell, and they should feel firm to the touch. If you have gum disease, it falls into one of four stages:
- Gingivitis: Puffy, red gums that often bleed with flossing or brushing
- Mild periodontitis: Gums can pull away from the teeth, forming pockets
- Moderate periodontitis: Bad breath, pus around the gum line, and sometimes pain
- Advanced periodontitis: Bone loss, leading to loose teeth that can fall out
Dr. Park can treat gum disease at any stage. However, you can only reverse this condition in the earliest stages. That’s because it can cause permanent damage to your mouth and health. At that point, Dr. Park can treat your condition and outline a maintenance strategy to avoid additional problems.
Treating periodontal disease
In the earliest stages, Dr. Park can often treat and reverse gum disease by performing a thorough dental cleaning and providing guidance on maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. This would include brushing 2-3 times a day, flossing regularly, and scheduling frequent dental visits.
Treatments for periodontal disease become more involved as the condition advances. These therapies often include:
- Deep pocket cleaning
- Soft tissue recontouring (gingivoplasty)
- Hard tissue contouring (osteoplasty)
- Implant placement
- Crown lengthening
After treating your condition, Dr. Park can outline a personalized maintenance strategy. This could include special periodontal appointments four times a year to measure the gum tissue and remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach places.
Do you want to reverse gum disease? Don’t wait to schedule a dental visit. Get the help you need by calling 951-845-2661 to book an appointment with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.