The flu season has been a huge cause for concern this winter. It seems as though every state is dealing with an increase in flu cases, and we are seeing the same here in Washington. The flu is everywhere, and we are taking steps to protect ourselves from exposure, as you should.
However, we can’t help but think of another infection that is also running rampant but seemingly under the radar. With four out of every five people being infected, you would think it would top the news each night, but it doesn’t.
We are, of course, talking about gum disease. Gum disease is a national concern, but most people are not aware of the risk, the signs, or the treatment for this wide-spread infection!
Today, we want to take a look at gum disease. We want you to know what gum disease looks like, how it can be treated, and what you can do to prevent it from ever entering your home!
The Early Stage – Gingivitis
You have heard the term gingivitis before. If you’ve never heard it, you’ve read it on bottles of mouth rinse, tubes of toothpaste, or boxes of floss. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and if you can prevent gingivitis, you will not have to worry about any of the other threats from gum disease!
The interesting thing is that gingivitis really doesn’t have many signs that you might recognize. We see them when you come in for your appointments, but most patients have no idea that they have an infection until we tell them.
If you were to notice anything, it would be bleeding gums when you brush or floss, or you might notice the color of your gums changing from a healthy pink to a bright red color. It’s rare for these signs to appear so early, which is why we recommend routine appointments.
Treating gingivitis is very simple. You need a professional cleaning. When we spot the signs of infection, we continue with your cleaning to remove the harmful bacteria from your gums. We will let you know about the infection and explain what you can do to protect yourself.
We will discuss your hygiene routine and recommend an antiseptic mouthrinse so that your infection doesn’t return!
The Advanced Stage – Periodontal Disease
As we said, you probably won’t know you have a gum disease infection until you come into the office. So, if you don’t see us regularly, your infection will progress into periodontal disease. This means that the bacteria is deep in your gums forming pockets and pulling your gums away from your teeth. We must treat periodontal disease aggressively so that we can save your teeth!
You will definitely notice bleeding from your gums, and your gums will be red instead of pink. You might also notice swelling of your gums or tenderness to the touch. If your gum disease is very advanced, you might be able to see your gums pulling away from your teeth, or you might feel your teeth getting loose and shifting when you chew.
At this stage, you need advanced treatment. We might recommend scaling and root planing, which is a deep-cleaning procedure that removes bacteria from along your tooth root. It also involved planing your tooth root, which means we will make it smooth so that bacteria can’t hold on as well.
In some cases, we need to recommend pocket reduction surgery, which requires us to remove bacteria from the pockets in your gums and repairing damage to your gums by placing them back around your teeth where they belong.
Your Teeth are at Risk
By not dealing with gum disease, you are putting your entire smile at risk. Gum disease can spread from tooth to tooth, and if it is left untreated, you will begin to lose your teeth. Gum disease is the number one cause of lost adult teeth, and we don’t want you to join that statistic!
Begin by boosting your daily routine. Be sure you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once each day to remove harmful bacteria. You might also benefit from an antiseptic rinse at least once each day.
Your six month appointments are very important. This is the only way to catch gum disease just as its beginning. If we catch it early, you don’t have to worry about it! If you don’t come see us, and we don’t catch it, you’ll have a much different outcome!
Contact us today to set up your next appointment and exam. We would love to see you and your smile very soon so that we can make sure your teeth and gums and healthy and happy!