Many American adults have some form of gum disease, ranging from minor gum inflammation known as gingivitis to full-blown periodontal disease that can result in major oral damage -and even tooth loss. Fortunately, gum disease can be slowed and reversed with early intervention. Dr. Cavallo performs a thorough periodontal screening during your routine dental care visits in his Woodbridge dentist office, looking for early warning signs of gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque forming tartar on the teeth. The first stage of gum disease is inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Daily brushing and flossing along with regular dental cleanings can reverse gingivitis. However, if gingivitis isn’t treated, it advances to periodontitis. Gums pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets” and become infected. If left untreated, bones, gums, and tissue supporting the teeth are destroyed and teeth will have to be removed. Risk factors for gum disease include smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, certain illnesses and treatments, and genetics.
Signs of gum disease include:
- Constant bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or teeth appearing longer
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cavallo as soon as possible. The sooner treatment begins, the better the odds of healing.
Gum disease treatment may involve a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is the removal of tartar and bacteria from above and below the gum line, and around the tooth roots. Prescription medications may be recommended with treatment and in extreme cases, gum surgery may be necessary to completely restore dental health.
Why Treat Gum Disease?
Patients with persistent or advanced gum disease are at a greater risk of experiencing heart disease or difficulty controlling blood sugar if diabetic. Women with gum disease are more likely to deliver low weight babies than those with healthy gums.
The key to avoiding gum disease is prevention through good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist twice a year for check-ups and professional cleaning. Contact Dr. Cavallo in Woodbridge, VA if you are experiencing signs of gum disease or have not seen a dentist in more than 6 months. Healthy gums are the foundation for healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.