Goodman Dentistry provides basic dental care, including gum disease treatment, to patients the Staten Island, New York area.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue. It is the major cause of about 70 percent of adult tooth loss, affecting three out of four persons at some point in their life. It us usually painless in the early stages, so you may not know you have it.
Warning signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, pus between the gum and tooth, persistent bad breath, a change in the way teeth fit together when biting and a change in the fit of dentures. While patients are advised to check for the warning signs, there might not be any discomfort until the disease has spread to a point where the tooth is unsalvageable, so patients are advised to get frequent dental exams to catch gum disease early.
Gum disease is primarily caused by bacterial plaque – a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth. If plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar, a rough, porous substance. Toxins from the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and break down of fibers holding teeth within the gums, creating pockets full of even more toxins and bacteria. As the disease progresses, pockets extend deeper, and the bacteria moves down until the bone that holds the tooth in place is destroyed. The tooth eventually will fall out or require extraction. Factors that increase risk of gum disease include genetics, tobacco use, medications, diseases such as diabetes, some medications, ill-fitting bridges or crooked teeth, defective fillings, pregnancy, stress, poor nutrition and clenching or grinding your teeth.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, has also been associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes and preterm low-birth weight babies, according to the November 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Treatment usually involves removing the tartar and proper daily cleaning. Sometimes antibiotics are needed, and for advanced cases, surgical treatment may be necessary.
You can help to prevent gum disease by removing plaque through twice-a-day brushing, daily flossing and professional cleaning. If you have special needs, we can design a personalized program of home oral care to meet your needs.