Contact the professionals at Natomas Crossing Dental Care for an accurate diagnosis and effective periodontal treatment in Sacramento. We can help you avoid or treat gum disease with expert preventive and maintenance care that allows us to identify gum disease at its earliest stage, before it leads to tooth loss. When you need periodontal services in Sacramento, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup, your dentist measures the depth of the shallow v-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.
What causes gum or periodontal disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria can create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they can cause the attachment between the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket — generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.
What is gingivitis?
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and they bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated with treatment from your dental provider and daily brushing and flossing.
What is periodontitis?
In the more advanced stage of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out or require removal by a dentist.
Some factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease are:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- System-wide diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Fillings that have become defective
When should I see my dentist?
Periodontal disease may be present with no warning signs, so regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, contact your dentist immediately:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or foul taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Can gum disease be prevented?
You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help prevent gum disease. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keeping periodontal disease from occurring or becoming more serious. Brushing regularly, cleaning between your teeth, eating a balanced diet and scheduling regular dental visits can lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles.