April 6, 2016
It’s estimated, roughly three-fourths of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease; however, most are unaware they even have a gum infection. Early signs of periodontal disease often go unnoticed, causing the disease to progress overtime. When left untreated, it can go from a simple gum infection to the eventual loss of your teeth. Learning to spot the signs of the disease while in its early stages is critical to treating the infection before serious and irreversible damages occurs.
Spotting the Signs of Gum Disease
Our mouths naturally have certain levels of bacteria, which we try to keep to a minimum with proper brushing and flossing. However, even with the best oral hygiene, bacteria can still accumulate in hard to reach places, like in between the teeth and around gum lines. As a result, the bacteria found in plaque begins to buildup and irritate the gums. This eventually causes the gum tissue to become infected. But, the infection isn’t always noticeable right away.
The early stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis, which is easily treatable and reversible when caught early. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize the signs of gingivitis; therefore, prolonging treatment and causing the condition to worsen. This silent epidemic will eventually cause pockets to form near the gum line. Once this occurs, you can no longer treat gum disease at home. You will now require extra care from your dentist.
The key to stopping the progression of the disease is treating it as soon as the first symptom starts. The most common symptom is bleeding gums. Too often, people think bleeding gums is normal from brushing and flossing too hard. But the truth is, bleeding gums is never ok. When your gums bleed and begin to become red, swollen, and painful, gingivitis is already progressing. In addition, bad breath or a poor taste in the mouth often develops.
As the infection continues to spread, your gum lines can start to recede and deep pockets will form. These deep pockets then trap additional bacteria, which slowly eats away at the teeth. At this point, gingivitis has now progressed to the next stage of the disease and serious treatment will be needed to stop the eventual loss of bone and teeth.
Since early stages of the disease often produce few signs and little pain, you need to maintain regular visits with your dentist. In addition to properly cleaning the teeth to reduce the risk for gum disease, your dentist will be able to spot the signs of early disease to provide the correct intervention. If caught early enough, the infection can be stopped and even reversed with a strict oral hygiene routine and care from your dentist.
However, if the disease progresses to a more advanced stage, we offer the periodontal therapy you need to help reduce the progression of damage. Dr. Tyler B. Schaffeld will create a customized treatment plan to treat the infection while reversing the damage it has caused. If you suspect you have a disease of the gums, call our office today at (541) 263-7266 to schedule an appointment today.
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