It's estimated that almost half of the adult population in the United States has some degree of gum disease. However, just because it's a common issue doesn't mean it's normal, and if you're in Rockville, MD, Dr. Mehr Tucker wants to help change those odds! She's a dentist who has received special training in the field of gum-related issues, called periodontics, and she's provided some information to her patients who are concerned that they might be have gum disease.
How does periodontal disease happen?
The bacteria-filled plaque that builds up on your teeth and causes cavities also causes problems for your gums. That's because the acid that forms from the bacteria interacting with starchy food particles creates an acid that breaks down the structure of the gum tissue, leading to gum disease. There are two levels of periodontal disease that your Rockville, MD, dentist will diagnose: gingivitis is the milder form that only affects the gum tissue, while periodontitis is more advanced and includes damage to the bone that holds the teeth in place.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
Healthy gum tissue is a medium pink color and lays flat against the teeth. If you have periodontal disease, your gums will typically appear red and swollen due to inflammation. They may also bleed easily when you brush or floss. Many people that are in the beginning stages of periodontitis (the more serious form of gum disease) begin to feel tooth sensitivity as the gums recede and the roots of the tooth are exposed to the air. You may even lose teeth if the bone has become damaged enough.
Can periodontal disease be fixed?
The good news is that periodontal disease is a treatable condition. However, it's more easily treated in its early stages. The teeth can be cleaned behind the edges of the gums in a procedure called root planing, and antibiotic rinses and medications can help discourage the growth of bacteria. For more severe periodontitis, gum tissue can be grafted onto areas where it has receded, and bone grafts can restore the damaged bone to allow for restoration options like implants. The most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to stay current on checkups with your Rockville dentist.
If you're concerned about periodontal disease, contact your dentist in Rockville, MD, Dr. Mehr Tucker, to make an appointment today. Call (301) 963-8900 or email at [email protected]