Gum disease affects approximately half of the adults in the United States. But because it is often painless in its earliest stages, you may not be aware that you have it.
Your dentist may be the first one to spot gum disease, which in its early stages is known as gingivitis. However there are some symptoms of which you should be aware. Those symptoms include swollen and gums that bleed when you brush and floss. Healthy gums are pink, and red gums may indicate the presence of gum disease. Other symptoms include loose teeth, chronic bad breath, receding gums, and in some cases, pain.
The primary cause of gum disease is the presence of plaque on your teeth. As plaque increases, it can harden into tartar. One of the ways your body reacts to plaque is with swollen gums, which allows the plaque to build up below your gumline. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, lost teeth, damage to your jawbone, and complications for other areas of your body.
If your gum disease is still in the earlier stages, you might be able to fight it by changing your oral hygiene habits, or by making some changes in how you live your life. One way that you dentist may address gingivitis is with scaling and root planing. This process usually takes two appointments, and may require a local anesthetic. In scaling, the dentist will use an instrument to remove the plaque and the tartar from the surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gumline. In a subsequent appointment, he will clean and smooth the roots of the tooth so they can re-attach themselves to the jaw.
Prevention really is the best treatment. Gum disease can be prevented by brushing your teeth at least two times a day, and flossing once a day. It is important that you see your dentist for routine cleanings and exams, which will give him the chance to clean the plaque and tartar you could not remove, and to spot gum disease and other problems.
Even if you aren’t experiencing any problems with your gums, it is still important to see your dentist on a regular basis. If it is time for your visit with Dr. Ronald Levine, and you live in the Germantown, Maryland, area, call 301-540-8808 today to make an appointment at Blue Ribbon Dental.