Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. It is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tartar that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil and part of the tree’s roots, causing the tree to collapse.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the fit of dentures
Rochester Hills, MI dentist Dr. Wolfe offers several treatment options for periodontal disease. If you have early signs of gum disease, Dr. Wolfe may recommend frequent dental cleanings to restore your gums to optimal health.
If more intensive treatment is needed, Dr. Wolfe may recommend a deep teeth cleaning known as scaling and root planning. During this procedure, the dentist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum.
Patients who have advanced signs of gum disease may require more intense treatment or surgery. Dr. Wolfe may refer you to a local periodontist for treatment.
The early detection and prevention of gum disease is another reason to see your dentist regularly. It is important to remember that preventing disease, through routine dental care, is better than treating disease.