As one of the most common dental problems in America, millions of adults have some form of gum disease and don’t even realize it. For those who do, symptoms are often avoided, which can result in serious problems for oral and overall health. As early stages quickly morph into a situation that is much more harmful and damaging, the effects are not only seen in the mouth but in the body as well. Since September is National Gum Care Month, it’s time to talk about ways in which this problem can impact your well-being and how gum disease treatment in Charlottesville can be the ideal solution.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease, is a serious dental condition that is caused by plaque and tartar building above and below the gum line. Varying in stages ranging from mild to severe, patients can experience a wide array of signs and symptoms, including:
- Inflamed and bleeding gums
- Red, tender, puffy gums
- Changes in bite
- Oral sores that won’t go away
- Bad breath
- Receding gums that make teeth appear longer than usual
A dentist will be able to easily identify if gum disease is present by performing a visual examination and examining dental x-rays. Should your teeth appear to be loose or your bone weakening, these are signs the disease has progressed and is dangerously affecting your oral health.
How Does Gum Disease Effect More Than Just My Mouth?
Not only can periodontal disease negatively impact your oral health by causing bone and tooth loss, but it can also lead to serious health-related problems. While it might seem difficult to believe, once the infection and inflammation caused by gum disease reach your bloodstream, it can travel to various areas of the body, leaving a harmful trail along the way. Some of the harmful effects include:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Premature birth or low birth weight
- Respiratory disease
What is Periodontal Therapy?
Before you become too fearful of these instances occurring in your own body, there is good news. If caught in the early stages (gingivitis), you and your dentist can work together to reverse it. How? By committing to practicing good oral hygiene at home and maintaining regular dental cleanings, you can take back control of your gum health.
If the gum disease has escalated beyond gingivitis and is now what is considered periodontitis, it will be necessary to undergo periodontal therapy in Charlottesville. Your dentist will perform a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, which involves removing harmful plaque and tartar from below the gum line as well as smoothing the tooth’s root to encourage reattachment. It might also be beneficial to incorporate antibiotic therapy to discourage reinfection.
Although gum disease is a common problem, it should never be taken lightly, nor should its symptoms be avoided. If you suspect you have it, talk to your dentist immediately. It’s better to start treatment early before the problem worsens.
About the Author
Dr. Hal Lippard studied Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, before attending the University of Tennessee, Memphis, to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. After spending four years in the United States Army Dental Corps, he went on to serve as a dental officer in the United States Army Reserves for 17 years. For more than 20 years, Dr. Lippard has been practicing in Charlottesville, and is passionate about his work and helping his patients. From regular dental checkups and cleanings to gum disease treatment, he and his team use the necessary tools to give individuals a chance to regain their gum health and enjoy happier, healthier lives. To learn more, contact us at (434) 293-9311.