Periodontal disease is the infection of the gum and bone, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria that are in plaque creates toxins, which irritate the gum tissue. They may cause them to swell and bleed. If the irritation continues for too long, the gums separate from the teeth, causing spaces to form.
Plaque can also form a hardened substance around the teeth called tartar. Tartar can form above and below the gum line. As gum disease develops, the tissue and bone that supports the teeth can weaken and become infected. This can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is not always as obvious as people may think. Typically, there is no pain associated with gum disease and the obvious signs of redness, swelling, and bleeding are not always present but the damage may still be occurring.
By age 45, 80% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease. After age 35 more adults lose teeth to gum disease than from cavities. In addition to causing tooth decay, studies have shown that health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and low-birth-weight babies have been related to periodontal disease.
Here are some other factors affecting the health of your gums:
- Poor nutrition and diet
- Tobacco Use
- Grinding teeth
- Certain Medications and Supplements
The best way to prevent gum disease is following a regular regimen of brushing, flossing, and dental checkups. However, should you already suffer from periodontal disease there are procedures Drs. Michael Bass and Rob Watson and their team can perform to correct and reverse the damage to your teeth and gums.
If your teeth appear short they may actually just be covered by excessive gum tissue. Dr. Bass and Dr Watson can correct this by surgically removing the extra gum tissue to reveal your own natural teeth. Many patients have experienced the benefit of having a full smile rather than a “gummy” smile. This procedure can also be used to expose a decayed part of a tooth so it can be repaired.
When you lose a tooth it can cause the gum line and bone to recede leaving an unsightly indentation in your gum or jawline. We can repair the bone damage and use implants or bridges to replace the missing teeth. See our Cosmetic Dentistry and Implant pages for more information about replacing a missing tooth.
When tooth loss occurs the underlying bone may collapse or recede. We can graft new bone into the socket to give a natural look to your gum line and bone structure. This can also be helpful or necessary for some crowns, bridges, and implants. See our Bone Augmentation page for more information.