At Chapel Hill Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we promote healthy gums as the foundation for overall health and wellness. The gums are important not only for the health of the smile, but the aesthetics as well. Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White place significant emphasis on your periodontal health. We provide a variety of dental treatments to address all stages of gum disease, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and advanced periodontal disease.
Gum disease and poor oral health have been directly linked to an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular and systemic disease. Healthy gums serve as a barrier for harmful bacteria in the mouth. When the gums are weakened by disease, bacteria can enter the bloodstream, leading to internal inflammation and accompanying health concerns. Keeping your gums healthy not only supports your teeth, but also your physical well being.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the first stage and not many people are even aware they have it. If you visit the dentist regularly, it is easy to diagnose and fairly easy to treat. Your dentist may recommend more frequent teeth cleanings to prevent reoccurring gingivitis.
When gingivitis goes undiagnosed and untreated, it will develop into periodontitis. At this stage, the gums are significantly irritated, swollen, inflamed, and may bleed frequently. Permanent damage to the gums, teeth and bone are at risk. If left untreated, you may suffer from gum recession, tooth loss and permanent damage to the bone.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
A good daily oral hygiene routine as well as regular visits to our Chapel Hill dentist office will help you maintain healthy gums and avoid the complex effects of advanced gum disease. We perform a thorough periodontal screening during routine dental care and look for early signs of disease. Treated promptly, gum disease can be managed with conservative options.
Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease
Some signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifted teeth
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the fit of dentures
- Sores in the mouth
Chapel Hill dentists Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White offer several treatment options for periodontal disease, depending on the stage and severity. If you have early signs of gum disease, known as gingivitis, we may recommend frequent dental cleaning procedures to restore your gums to optimal health.
If more intensive treatment is needed, your Chapel Hill dentist may recommend a deep tooth cleaning known as scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum. This vigorous cleaning involves the use of special dental tools to remove the bacteria causing plaque and tartar that have developed. This will help prevent further build up to help avoid gum recession and tooth loss.
Patients who have advanced signs of gum disease may require more intense treatment or surgery. In these cases, we may help coordinate treatment with a local periodontist.
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Gum Disease FAQs
Is gum disease linked to other diseases?
Over the years, a well established link has been drawn between several health problems and gum disease. It has been shown that people with type-2 diabetes are susceptible to developing periodontitis and people who have periodontitis are more likely to also develop type-2 diabetes. Other links have been discovered between gum disease to heart disease and problems during pregnancy. This is why visiting the dentist regularly is very important to maintain proper oral health and avoid developing more serious health conditions.
What increases my risk of developing gum disease?
There are many risk factors including using tobacco of any form, already having a systematic disease such as diabetes, certain medications (please ask your doctor about the medication you take), use of birth control, pregnancy, crooked teeth and worn down or broken dental restorations.
Will gum disease cause tooth loss?
Yes, as a matter of fact gum disease is the number one reason people suffer from tooth loss. Preventing gum disease with proper oral hygiene habits and seeking treatment as soon as possible if you show signs of it are the best ways to prevent tooth loss. If gum disease is left untreated, it will progress into a serious oral health problem and you will suffer from bone loss and gum recession in addition to tooth loss.