Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a common occurrence. It develops when bacteria builds up in the spaces between the gums and the teeth, leading to inflammation or full-blown infection. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss or widespread infection. Studies have even connected untreated periodontal disease with an increased risk of heart attack or coronary disease.
How to Determine if You Are At Risk
Because the occurrence of gum disease is so widespread, almost everyone is at risk. However, those who are careful to take good care of their teeth and gums, and who visit the dentist regularly, are much less likely to suffer from severe periodontal disease.
In most cases, gum disease is detected early, during a routine visit to the dental office. Your dentist and/or dental hygienist will use a special tool to measure the pockets around your teeth. If these pockets have become deeper than one or two millimeters, this is a sign that your gums need additional treatment and observation. Deeper pockets indicate the presence of gingivitis or more serious periodontal disease.
After determining the health of your gums, your dentist will make recommendations about how to care for your gums. This can range from baking soda treatments or more frequent visits to the dental office for observation, to deep cleaning, scaling, or even gum surgery.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Aside from pockets around the teeth, some other, more obvious signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or purplish gum tissue
- A shiny look to the gum tissue
- Bleeding of the gums during routine brushing and flossing
If you experience any of these symptoms, bring them to your dentist’s attention as soon as possible so that he or she can recommend treatment.
At our Los Colinas dental office, we provide thorough oral care, including routine cleanings, dental work, and treatment for periodontal disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of periodontal disease, or simply want to schedule an appointment for a preventative cleaning, please call us today.