More commonly referred to as “gum disease,” periodontal disease is an infection that involves the gums and bone tissues that keep your teeth in place.
Mild periodontitis starts out as gingivitis, which presents classic symptoms of gum swelling and bleeding. But untreated, it can spread deeper into the gums, causing them to detach from your teeth; the bone quickly shrinks away as well. Ultimately, tooth mobility and loss become a very real concern.
You may have gum disease if you’re experiencing symptoms like:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Swelling or redness
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Tartar buildup
- Receding gumlines (“long teeth”)
- Loose teeth
- Soreness when you bite down or chew
- Food getting caught between your teeth
The Risk to Your Health
Researchers, scientists, and dental experts now know that active gum disease can significantly impact your overall health.
When oral biofilm spread from the gums directly into your blood supply, it can lodge within the cardiovascular system. Not only does this pose a risk of heart attack and stroke, it can impact your immune system and worsen the symptoms of medical conditions including diabetes, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and more. Even inhaling the biofilm could place seniors at risk of pneumonia.
A Warning to Smokers
People who use tobacco products often experience lessened visible symptoms of gum disease, because of the way cigarettes, vaping, or snuff affect your soft tissues. As a result, you may have advanced periodontal infections without ever realizing it. Even if you don’t have gum swelling or bleeding, there could be disease deep under your tissues and in the bone around your teeth.
When to See a Phoenix Dentist
To prevent periodontitis, it’s recommended that you see your Phoenix dentist for a cleaning and checkup at least every six months. If it’s been longer since your last checkup, you’ll want to schedule one right away. Treating gum disease starts with a series of periodontal cleanings (“deep cleanings”) to remove the buildup below the gums that cause the infection. From there, you’ll be placed on a strict home oral hygiene routine and seen for maintenance cleanings every 3-4 months or at least until symptoms are manageable.
In some situations, grafting or gum surgery may be needed to cover the tooth and keep it in place. One convenient alternative to traditional gum surgeries is Pinhole Rejuvenation, which uses your existing soft tissues to pull over the tooth like a blanket, protecting it from sensitivity while also addressing aesthetic concerns.
Gum Disease Screenings
At Central Valley Dentistry, we screen for periodontal disease during every checkup. The assessment that we use is called a “periodontal exam” and it involves taking careful measurements of where the gums attach around each of your teeth. Digital X-rays show an inside look at where the bone levels relate to the tissue attachment, as well as if there is heavy tartar buildup across the roots of your teeth.
The earlier your gum disease is diagnosed, the more effective your treatment can be to reverse it. Contact our dentist in Phoenix today to schedule your next visit!
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