Gum disease is a disturbingly prevalent condition that affects over 85% of adult Americans in the US. One of the keys to reversing this trend, though, is to raise awareness about the condition and elevate the collective dental care IQ of the masses. Your dentist in Scarborough contributes to this by explaining what causes gum (periodontal) disease, its different stages and what can be done to treat it.
What is Gum Disease?
The primary cause of gum disease is out-of-control bacteria growth. Over time, these antagonists to your oral health form clusters called plaque – a sticky, clear substance. If unaddressed, plaque works its way beneath the gumline.
Untreated, gum disease can develop and progress as follows:
- Gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this phase, the gums may be easy-to-bleed, red, irritated and puffy. However, any damage done can be reversed at this stage.
- Periodontitis – Ignoring the symptoms can eventually lead to periodontitis, a stage where you can experience permanent damage to the fibers, bone and ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
- Advanced Periodontitis – The most acute cases of gum disease fall into the category of advanced periodontitis. At this point, your teeth are more susceptible to falling out because of the roots being completely dissolved.
Can This be Treated?
At the first sign of any gum bleeding or gum irritation, you should immediately reach out to your dentist to schedule a visit. If identified early enough, the restoration of your oral health may only require some changes in your dental hygiene execution and the types of tools you use.
For more acute cases, your dentist may perform the following procedures:
- Deep Scaling – The deep scaling procedure involves your dentist using special instruments to remove plaque and tartar from the crown and root of the affected teeth. The professional may also incorporate the usage of a powerful antibacterial agent to remove any stubborn bacteria that linger.
- Root Planing – A planing procedure is typically done in conjunction with a deep scaling. It removes a portion of the cementum (a part of the tooth that lies beneath the gumline) and the surface dentin. By smoothing the root’s outer layer, this promotes faster healing and a lesser chance of bacteria returning.
- Laser Periodontal Therapy (LANAP) – For more advanced forms of decay, LANAP may be used. This is a non-invasive surgical procedure that uses a special laser to safely destroy infected tissue beneath the gumline; and it’s all done in a painless manner. Thus, patients can have a faster recovery.
The Power of Being Proactive
Instead of waiting until the symptoms of gum disease reach a crescendo, contact your dentist at the first sight of any abnormal changes in your oral health. With the expert care you’ll receive, you can be fully restored and able to live a normal life again!
About the Author
With an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Waterloo and a DMD from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Samantha Amaro knows a thing or two about bacteria. Because she understands how much havoc they can create if not treated, she focuses on preventive care first with her patients. Dr. Amaro also provides expert care and restoration from gum disease at White Willow Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. She can be reached for more information through her website.