You are probably aware of the dangers of cavities, and the importance of keeping your teeth clean to avoid decay. But what do you know about gum disease (also known as periodontal disease)? Get the facts — and then call Masterpiece Smiles of Tulsa, OK at (918) 992-4139 to schedule an appointment.
1. Gum Disease Is Common. Very Common. Perhaps the most startling fact about gum disease is how many people have it. The Centers for Disease Control says that 50% of Americans over the age of 30 are afflicted with some form of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). For Americans older than 65, that number jumps to over 70%. But that does not mean gum disease is inevitable as we age. In fact, gum disease is preventable before the fact, and treatable after it occurs.
2. Gum Disease Is the Leading Cause of Tooth Loss in Adults. More American adults lose teeth to periodontal disease than to tooth decay. When gum disease is left untreated, it will eventually advance to become periodontitis, the more severe form. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that teem with harmful bacteria. Eventually, the tissue and bone that support the teeth are destroyed by the bacteria and the body’s own immune response.
3. Gum Disease May Not Have Symptoms in Its Early Stages. Early-stage gum disease is called gingivitis, and may be present without you even realizing it. This is one reason why it’s so important to see Dr. Cobble for regular checkups every six months, even if you haven’t experienced any problems with your gums. Through his examination and X-rays, we will be able to spot issues before you notice symptoms. Of course, if you do start experiencing symptoms, call us right away even if you’re not due for a checkup. These include: pain while chewing, bleeding or swollen gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, and receding gums (or teeth that appear longer).
4. The Earlier You Spot Gum Disease, the Better. When caught early, gingivitis can be halted and reversed by good oral hygiene: regular dental cleanings plus meticulous brushing and flossing habits at home. For gum disease requiring additional treatment, Dr. Cobble has a number of techniques in his arsenal. Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning procedure performed with local anesthesia. Perio Protect is an antibacterial medication delivered to the gums with a mouthguard-like tray. LANAP is a special laser that cleanly and painlessly removes infected gum tissue, leaving healthy tissue behind. Dr. Cobble is also trained in the groundbreaking Chao Pinhole® surgical technique for repairing receding gums.
5. Gum Disease May Be Inherited. Periodontal disease runs in families, and research suggests that some people are genetically more susceptible. But that doesn’t mean anyone with a family history of gum disease is doomed to have it themselves. If you are aware that your parents or other relatives have gum disease, use that as incentive to take extra-good care of your own gums and keep them healthy for life.
6. Untreated Gum Disease Is Linked to Systemic Disease. Although the exact mechanisms are not positively known, gum disease may be associated with systemic health on a number of fronts. Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are more likely to have poor cardiac health. People with diabetes are more likely than others to have gum disease. Periodontal disease has also been linked to premature birth, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia.
Gum disease is serious, leading to pain, tooth loss, and even affecting your overall health. If you live in or around Tulsa, OK and have been experiencing symptoms of gum disease (or you are due for a checkup) call Masterpiece Smiles at (918) 992-4139. Or avoid the phone and fill out our online form.