Fact:  More adults lose their teeth as a result of gum (periodontal) disease than from any other cause.   The good news is that gum disease is preventable.

For this reason our doctors, hygienists and dental team will spend a considerable amount of time talking to you about this damaging but preventable disease.  By providing thorough homecare instruction through education and answering questions, we can discuss options to improve oral hygiene. We are confident that if our recommendations are followed, you will stand a better chance of keeping your teeth and gums in optimal condition.

An appointment with our hygienists or doctors at Smiles @ Fleetwood is much more than just a dental cleaning. At every appointment we evaluate the condition of your teeth and gums to ensure that any subtle changes over time are detected. Our hygienists will provide you with the best periodontal care, tailoring the program and frequency of  visits to your individual needs. These visits to our office coupled with thorough home care, provide the best strategies for achieving and maintaining your smiles.

 

3 Stages of Periodontal Disease:                                  

Gingivitis:   (inflammation of gum tissues)

Bacteria in our mouths along with mucus and food particles  form a sticky colorless “plaque” on our  teeth.  Daily brushing helps to remove this plaque, but plaque that is not removed can harden and form calculus (tartar) that brushing will not remove.  Only a dentist or hygienist with their instruments can remove this tarter during a professional cleaning appointment.

Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque that attaches around the teeth and over time can irritate the gums and eventually cause them to pull away from the teeth to form a pocket. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease.  It does not involve loss of bone or loss of attachment and can be reversed with proper home care and professional dental cleanings.  One of the most common signs of early gum disease is the presence of blood during brushing or flossing.

 

Early mild and moderate Chronic Periodontitis (gum disease)
As bone and attachment loss develop, the gums begin to ‘pull away’ from the tooth results in more of the tooth being exposed. Plaque attaches itself securely to this newly exposed area and  then hardens into tartar. Pockets depths of 4-5 mm  formed between the teeth and gums will harbor more bacteria and worsen the condition. 

 

Advanced Chronic Periodontitis (gum disease)
Eventually so much bone and attachment have been lost, the tooth begins to loosen. The bone and tissue support has irreversibly been lost causing gum swelling and pain requiring the tooth to be pulled out. 

 

Risk Factors

  • Smoking.  Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women. These changes can make gums swollen and more sensitive so it makes it easier to develop gingivitis.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum infection/disease.
  • Other illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums.
  • Medications. There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva.  Good saliva flow has a protective effect on the mouth. A reduced saliva flow makes  the mouth vulnerable to infections such as gum disease.  Some medicines can cause abnormal gum overgrowth; this can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.

Genetic susceptibility. Some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others.  However, with proper professional and home care we can minimize the progression.