By now, you have heard of gum disease. You may have even heard it referred to as periodontal disease. You also might have heard a dentist or hygienist refer to gingivitis and periodontitis. These are the mild and advanced forms of gum disease, respectively.
Preventing them and treating them are both good reasons to visit Masterpiece Smiles if you live in or near Tulsa, OK. Our dentist, Dr. Jan Cobble, offers non-surgical gum disease treatments at our office.
In today’s post, we will be answering some common questions we hear about gum disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The short answer is bacteria. These bacteria live inside your mouth. Given an opportunity, they will form plaque, which allows bacteria to stay close to your gums and cause infections.
It’s true that some people are more likely to develop gum disease than others. Your genes, tobacco use, and your hormone levels all can play a factor. Women are more likely to develop gum disease when they are going through hormone changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, for example.
But you oral hygiene plays a vital role as well. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice and flossing once on a daily basis. This is how you remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and from between your teeth and gums.
By skipping either of these steps, you are giving bacteria a chance to grow inside your mouth.
Professional dental cleanings are your backup. None of us are perfect, and a professional cleaning can remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that you may have left behind unknowingly.
How Common Is Gum Disease?
The Centers for Disease Control completed a study on this just a few years ago. The CDC researchers’ findings were informative.
They found that 47.2 percent of Americans 30 and older have some form of periodontitis, which you’ll recall is the advanced form of gum disease. Among adults 65 and older, that infection rate increased to 70.1 percent.
When you add gingivitis to the discussion, it’s fair to say that at any given time, more than half of the adults in the United States have some kind of gum disease. That’s consistent with information reported by the American Dental Hygienists Association. Keep in mind that hygienists are the people who perform most dental cleanings.
According to the ADHA, nearly 80 percent of American adults have gum disease. That’s roughly 4 out of every 5 people.
How Do We Treat Gum Disease?
Prevention is the best approach. This is why we encourage you to brush and floss daily and to visit Masterpiece Smiles for regular cleanings and exams.
If you see symptoms of gums disease, seek help as soon as possible. Symptoms may include bleeding gums and swollen gums on the mild end or sore and tender gums, receding gums, and loose teeth on the advanced end.
Your treatment may include one or more of the following:
➤ Scaling & Root Planing — This is similar to the cleaning we do during a routine visit, only we go deeper below the gumline to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth.
➤ Dental Laser Treatment — Lasers aren’t just for science fiction movies and rock shows. Dr. Cobble is trained in LANAP, which is the laser assisted new attachment procedure. Dental lasers are used to remove infected gum tissue while sealing and preserving your healthy tissue.
➤ Perio Protect — This is an antibacterial medication. It’s delivered by placing a solution in a mouthguard that you will wear for a prescribed amount of time.
Few dentists are certified to used this product, and our dentist office is one of them. Within a few weeks, this treatment can kill 99.98 percent of the bacteria causing your gum problems.
Dr. Cobble does want you to know that there may be a side effect. Perio Protect also makes some patients’ teeth whiter.
Come See Us Soon
If you don’t have gum disease, we want to help you keep your mouth as healthy as it can be. If you do have gum disease, we would rather find it early when it’s easier to treat.
If you haven’t scheduled your next appointment at our Tulsa, OK, dentist office, then contact us today. You can call 918-925-9687 or fill out our online appointment form.
If you are a new patient, please download and print our new patient forms. This allows you to fill them out at your own convenience before you arrive at our office.