It may shock you to learn that the most common disease in the U.S. is actually gum disease. That’s right, more than 50% of the adult population has some form of it, and often, they have no clue. This is because gum disease can start very subtly and be easy to miss. Keeping your gums healthy is extremely important to Dr. Shelly Strohman and our team, so here are a few signs of gum disease you should look for:
Over time, these minor symptoms can develop into painful, bacteria-filled pockets, receding gums, and even tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults 35 years and older.
When we’re able to catch your gum disease in its early stage (called gingivitis), it can usually be treated with dental cleanings at our office and more diligent oral hygiene at home (you should always be sure to brush where your teeth meet your gums). But, if it’s develop into its more advanced form, (periodontitis), we may need to utilize two special procedures specifically for dealing with gum disease
They are called scaling and root planing, and it’s like a dental cleaning specifically for your gums. Scaling involves using dental tools to gently clear away the built up bacteria and plaque that is both above and below your gum line. Afterward, root planing involves gently smoothing out the roots of your teeth so that you’ll have less of a chance of developing serious gum disease in the future. We may also choose to use antibiotic therapy to protect you from reinfection after the procedures are done.
For the most serious cases of gum disease, we will refer you to a periodontist, which is a specialist solely focused on treating the gums. They may need to perform surgery to remove the infected tissue or a much less invasive procedure involving a special soft tissue laser.
Ideally, we’ll be able to prevent your gum disease from ever becoming a real problem, and we can easily do that if you come to see us at least twice a year. That way, we’ll always be able to catch it early. If you have more questions about gum disease or are suffering from any of the symptoms we listed above, be sure to contact our office today. The sooner we catch it, the easier it will be to treat!