Periodontitis is the technical term for something you definitely don’t want: gum disease. The slippery slope to gum disease begins with its precursor, gingivitis. As it progresses, you’re at risk for numerous health problems, including tooth loss and even heart disease.
The good news about gum disease? It’s preventable and highly treatable.
Wedgewood Dental provides you with the expertise and service you need to address your particular dental concerns, including gum disease, and view them through the lens of your overall oral health. Dr. Linda Westmoreland offers care that’s informed by years of education and experience, and she surrounds herself with an amazing staff so you feel safe, supported, and empowered as a patient.
The lowdown on gum disease
Gum disease starts with plaque buildup on your teeth that exposes them — and your whole mouth — to damaging bacteria. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gum disease, but other controllable risk factors contribute to it too.
Other unalterable circumstances increase your periodontitis risk too: family history, hormonal changes for women, living with diabetes, and simply getting older.
The scary effects as gum disease progresses
Gum disease doesn’t happen overnight. A host of symptoms develop that are results of bacteria-filled deep pockets that form between your teeth and gums.
As the amount of bacteria increases, plaque grows out of control, even below your gum line. Your mouth’s architectural foundation of bone and tissue is compromised and severely weakened.
Advanced gum disease’s effects are far-reaching. Tissue and bone are lost forever, and your teeth can shift or even fall out.
Five things you can do to prevent gum disease
Here are five steps you can take that will nip gum disease in the bud:
1. Practice good home dental hygiene.
This means brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day, and using a fluoride dental rinse after your routine that further enhances your efforts.
2. See your dentist for routine care.
Visit your dentist for cleaning and checkups every six months. You may need to come in more often if you have a family history of gum disease, are experiencing hormonal shifts, or have another condition that’s linked to gum disease.
3. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
You’ve heard it a million times before, but using tobacco products isn’t good for anyone for any reason, and these habits are particularly damaging to your teeth and mouth.
4. Practice eating well.
Maintaining a nutritious diet that’s rich in Vitamins C and E hastens your body’s ability to heal. Think meals filled with cruciferous veggies, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and good fats like nuts and avocado.
5. Review your family and medication history with your dentist.
Dr. Westmoreland is well-equipped to evaluate your family’s tendency toward gum disease, as well as to review the effect(s) of your medications.
What if I’m diagnosed with gum disease?
We create a treatment plan that’s based on your needs, and your needs only, and we take an approach that’s as noninvasive as possible as we treat you.
One option is scaling, which removes plaque and bacteria from your tooth’s surface and in deep pockets that have developed between your teeth and gums.
Root planing is another solution, where we smooth your root’s surfaces to prevent future plaque and bacteria buildup that could lead to gum inflammation. We might prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to eradicate the infection, too.
We also prescribe preventive oral rinses to discourage gum disease, and antiseptic chips — medicated gelatin inserts you put in your mouth where needed.
Surgical options for treating gum disease
If you need a surgical solution, you’re also in the right place.
If the bone around your tooth’s root has deteriorated, we can replace it with your own bone fragments, donor bone, or a synthetic material so your tooth can re-anchor itself.
We harvest tissue from the roof of your mouth for a tissue graft and place it on the gums to prevent future recession and to protect your root. If we opt for flap surgery, we lift your gums to remove tartar and then reposition them so they surround your teeth snugly, reducing your chances of new bacterial buildup.
Don’t wait to address gum disease
We’re ready any time you are to treat your gum disease or to help you prevent it from occurring. Simply call our office or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment.