The American Dental Association says that over 75-80% of all adults have or will have some form of gum disease.
Gum disease, or more correctly called "periodontal disease", is a bacterial infection in the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It can be divided into several categories.
The first stage is called "gingivitis" and is characterized by gum tissue that is red, puffy, and bleeds easily when touched with a toothbrush, floss or dental instrument.
The second, third, and fourth stages are initial, moderate, and advanced "periodontal disease", respectively. These stages are different from gingivitis because the infection has destroyed the bone supporting the teeth, causing eventual tooth loss. In our office we treat periodontal very successfully with our dental laser.
Periodontal disease can be the result of ineffective removal of plaque and tartar on the teeth. When gums bleed easily and look red and swollen, this is the start of gingivitis. If allowed to progress, infection in the gums will result.
We have a variety of ways to treat periodontal disease in its various stages of development. When periodontal disease has not yet progressed to the bone but is within the gum tissue, a scaling and root planing will remove the plaque and tartar that is present and may be all that is needed to arrest the disease and clear up the infection. Lasers are now being used to help with the scaling of the teeth for more effective results.
Periodontal disease that has progressed to the bone will require more aggressive treatment by our dentists at Wappingers Falls Dental Arts. When pockets start to form around the teeth, a pocket reduction procedure will be required. In this procedure, our periodontist will fold the gum tissue away from the teeth and clear away all bacteria. Any rough surfaces on the bone will also be smoothed down so that bacteria will not have a future place to hide. Then the gum tissue will be put in place again.
If you are suffering from gum disease, you need to be treated a periodontist as soon as possible. Loss of teeth, as well as more chance of heart disease, stroke, prostatitis and respiratory disease, can result from untreated periodontal disease.
After periodontal disease has been treated, the gums may be uneven as a result of the damage that was done by the infection. Our periodontists have many treatments available for this type of situation. If there is too much gum tissue, lasers can effectively remove the excess tissue and even out the gum line. If the gums have receded and are now exposing too much of the teeth, a grafting procedure can be performed to add to the gum line and fill it out.
Tooth loss that has occurred as a result of periodontal disease can be effectively treated by the placement of dental implants and bridges expertly fitted by our periodontist. It is good to know that should gum disease strike, there are treatments that will capably address the disease and the resulting damage.
Research has shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies suggest periodontal disease can increase your risk of:
Untreated periodontal disease also worsens:
A study of stroke victims indicates that advanced gum disease can increase the risk of stroke by over 50% in adults aged 25 to 54.
Many studies indicate a link between gum disease and heart disease. Particular studies also indicate the risk of fatal heart disease is twice as high for individuals with severe gum disease.
New evidence also suggests that pregnant women with severe gum disease are seven times more likely to have a premature baby. This is the case as gum disease can lead to accelerated production of hormones that trigger premature birth. In addition, Scientists generally believe that the toxins reach the placenta and can disrupt foetal development.
Experts can’t say for certain, but they believe that oral bacteria can escape into the bloodstream and injure major organs.
One theory is that ‘inflammation’ may be the link. Periodontal disease is caused by inflammation and it is believed it may increase inflammation around the body (with inflammation being the underlying problem in diseases such as heart disease).
Make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible and get a diagnosis. Your dentist will examine you and ascertain if you have periodontal disease and the extent of the disease. If you do have it your will be referred to our periodontist and will undergo treatment.