Gum Disease Therapy
The most common disease in the United States is not what you may think. Heart disease, stroke, or cancer come to mind, but actually gum disease is the single most prevalent disease in America. In fact, it affects more people than heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer combined. About 80% of the population has some form of gum disease, also know as periodontal disease, periodontitis (advanced), and gingivitis (mild).
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support teeth; it usually starts early in life and then progresses as a person ages. It all starts when plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus) below the gum line. This irritates vulnerable soft tissues and infection can set in. Combined with decaying food particles lodged between teeth and bacteria emitted by plaque, the infection can spread quickly. Symptoms are so mild in the early phase that many patients don’t recognize them: red, tender, swollen gums, and/or bleeding when brushing teeth.
As the condition progresses, gums recede from teeth, and pockets of bacteria form. Bacteria can destroy gum tissue and bone, causing tooth and more bone loss. However, we can detect early signs of gum disease at your regular dental checkups. At this stage, prevention might be as simple as changing your brushing technique, improving your flossing routine, or changing the products you use for oral care at home.
Once gum disease sets in, we can often treat it with non-surgical therapy, including:
- Scaling - to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line
- Root Planing - to reduce and smooth the rough areas that collect plaque and bacteria
- Antibiotic Therapy - to battle infection and to prevent its spread
A patient under treatment for gum disease should expect more frequent hygiene visits so that the dentist or hygienist can monitor his or her progress, making sure that recovery is right on track.
Why Is Gum Disease So Serious?
Recent research reveals that gum disease is linked to increased risk for major overall health problems, including but not limited to stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and, most recently, dementia. Because of these findings, research continues, and we may learn much more in the next few years.
It makes perfect sense, though - gum disease linked to overall health problems. Our mouth is like a portal to the body, everything that enters or is present in the mouth has access to our whole body. That’s why regular checkups and hygiene visits are vital not only to our oral health, but also to our overall health.
Your Oral Health Is Our Number One Priority!
We will work together to address your oral health, comfort, function, and your aesthetic concerns. Call Smile Santa Fe today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Christensen and team. Our office is conveniently located in Santa Fe, NM.