You probably know that gum disease can be prevented, but did you know that once it develops, it becomes a permanent condition? The disease begins with an infection, known as gingivitis, that develops when bacteria overwhelm your gum tissues. At first, gingivitis does little more than irritate your gums, but in time, your gum tissue can become so diseased that it can no longer support all of your teeth. The good news is that gum disease can be effectively controlled if prevention fails, so you can still avoid the damage it might cause your oral and systemic health.
How Serious is Gum Disease?
Even though it doesn’t directly attack your tooth’s structure, like cavities, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. Its secret lies in its approach; rather than directly infecting a tooth, gum disease systematically destroys your teeth’s support system. Gum disease causes excessive inflammation in your gums, destroying the tissue and your jawbone underneath it. By the time many patients seek gum disease treatment, the condition has already caused significant damage.
Along with tissue swelling, one of the characteristic symptoms of gingivitis and gum disease is bleeding gums. When you brush your teeth or chew your food, the pressure can release oral bacteria into your bloodstream, including those responsible for inciting inflammation. As the germs travel throughout your body, they can significantly increase your risk for other chronic inflammatory conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia, to name just a few.
Treating Your Gum Disease
Like any dental issue, effective gum disease treatment is case-specific. Depending on the severity of your condition, your oral health may improve with a thorough dental cleaning and improved dental hygiene practices. Or, you may require complex periodontal treatment to restore irreversibly damaged gum tissue. If you’ve lost one or more teeth to the disease, then Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas might recommend replacing them with dental implants after your gum disease is brought under control. The most effective way to protect your smile, however, is to prevent the onset of gingivitis with good dental hygiene and a dental checkup and cleaning at least once every six months.
About Your Park Ridge Dentists:
Though we can rebuild your smile if it’s compromised by cavities, gum disease, or tooth loss, preventing such issues with improved dental hygiene can help you avoid the need for complex restorative treatment. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.