Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Gum disease is a serious oral health condition that affects one out of every two Americans. This is a statistic that is backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For some reason, it isn’t taken too seriously, because many people with this disease aren’t even aware that they have it. Since untreated gum disease increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cognitive decline related to Alzheimer’s disease, proper treatment is vital to one’s health. With those risks, it is imperative to recognize whether you know that you have this disease or not and to get treatment as soon as possible.
How to tell if you have gum disease
Gum disease starts off as gingivitis, which presents gums that are red, swollen, and bleeds easily. In the beginning, these symptoms may not be all that noticeable to you, but your dental hygienist or dentist can pick up on it immediately if you’re receiving your six-month cleanings as recommended. It is best to catch the disease in this early stage because at this point, it can be reversed by following through with good oral hygiene habits at home, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily (this is one of the most important parts of your oral hygiene routine), and maintaining your six-month checkups and cleanings. Do everything right, and you should be able to stop gingivitis in its tracks.
However, ignoring this early stage will result in the disease advancing into periodontitis, which begins the irreversible stages of gum disease. Ignoring it at this point will only make it worse, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Signs that you have periodontitis include bad breath (even though you brushed your teeth), sore gums that bleed easily, gum recession, and loose teeth (this is especially evident in the later stage of gum disease). As the disease progresses, it causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, which then creates what is referred to as perio pockets. These pockets begin to harbor even more harmful bacteria that now have access to your bloodstream, directly impacting your heart, brain, and the health of your entire body. This is why treatment is so vital to your health.
Now that we have stressed the importance of recognizing gum disease and why you should seek treatment if you have it let’s briefly explore treatment options. Keep in mind, however, that treatment is dependant on each case and the severity of your condition.
Scaling & Root Planing
This procedure involves cleaning the plaque and tartar buildup off your teeth, as well as under the gum line in the perio pockets. A professional dental cleaning is the only way to clean these pockets effectively. Even though flossing at home is recommended to prevent the disease from progressing, it can’t entirely clean out these pockets of all plaque, and tartar buildup, which is why it’s not ideal to skip your next dentist appointment.
Non-surgical gum disease treatment
Another option is laser gum surgery, which not only zaps the harmful bacteria residing under your gums but also removes any diseased tissue while facilitating healing. This non-surgical method of treatment is ideal for patients dealing with later stages of gum disease. There is limited downtime following laser gum treatments, and patients appreciate the quicker healing process as opposed to traditional surgical means of the past.
Gum Disease Treatment in Poway
If you believe that you have gum disease, or just want to get an evaluation to rule it out, don’t hesitate to contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today, or call (858) 673-0141. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.