What's the leading cause of tooth loss in the US? It's periodontal disease, an advanced form of the inflammatory process (gingivitis) which makes your gums bleed when you brush. At Worthington Advanced Dentistry in Fairfield, your dentist, Dr. Joseph Worthington, watches for periodontal disease and educates his patients on proper home care and treatments for long-lasting smiles.
They're just as important as your teeth
In fact, without healthy gums, your teeth literally can fall out, and your systemic health can fail. The Oral Health Foundation says that without adequate brushing and flossing and a mouth-friendly diet, your gums become infected and inflamed, a condition which, in its worst state, cannot be reversed.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Surprisingly, many people don't even know they have a problem until their Fairfield dentist discovers it during an examination. That's why semi-annual check-ups and cleanings are so vital. They catch gum and tooth problems early before they progress.
So, what tells your hygienist and Dr. Worthington that you have gum disease? They look for signs such as:
- Pain when you bite or chew
- Gums pulling away from teeth
- Pockets between teeth and gums deeper than three millimeters
- Changes in dental position and bite
- Bad breath
- Pus at the gum line
- Changes in gum color
- Teeth which are loose or separating from each other
Usually, most gum disease originates in the build-up of soft plaque and tartar below the gum line and in between teeth. When not removed, these biofilms push against the soft tissue, causing deterioration of the gums and eventually...the supporting bone.
Also, some people seem more prone to gum disease. Periodontitis runs in families, and people who have lowered immune systems (such as diabetics or cancer patients) develop gum problems easily.
What to do with the diagnosis of gum disease
First of all, don't panic. Dr. Worthington and his team can help you with a number of restorative treatments. The first is good brushing and flossing at home, along with a thorough in-office cleaning.
This hygienic cleaning may involve antibiotic medication, root planing (going deep under gum tissue) and tooth scaling to remove deposits of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar. Your dentist may recommend more frequent in-office cleanings.
Some patients require gum grafting and other more invasive procedures to cover exposed roots and to allow for gum tissue to re-attach to tooth surfaces. Your care plan will be personalized to your specific condition.
Finally, increase gum health with smoking cessation and a nutritious, high-fiber diet to include plenty of water on a daily basis. You can limit the progress of gum disease and have a healthy mouth for the rest of your life.
Come see us
If you have concerns about your gum health, or you just haven't been into the office in a while, please contact us for a routine check-up and cleaning. Dr. Worthington and the caring staff at Worthington Advanced Dentistry in Fairfield, CT, love seeing their patients smile. Call (203) 256-8073.