Preventing Tooth Loss: The Dentists Answer the Commonly Asked Questions About Gum Disease
As we age, our concerns about how to prevent tooth loss increase. No matter how well they did – or didn’t – take care of their teeth and gums in our past, it becomes important to many people to do everything they can to take care of their oral hygiene as adults.
One common reason for tooth loss is gum disease. Here are 4 of the most commonly asked questions about gum disease answered by dentists to help you prevent the loss of your teeth.
4 Common Questions About Gum Disease
- What is gum disease and is it the same as gingivitis? Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is defined as a severe and chronic infection of the soft tissue that surrounds your teeth. When it’s left untreated, it can dig deep into the sockets of your teeth and cause them to decay. Infection and toxins set in here as well, making this a very painful disease.
It’s not the same as gingivitis, though. Gingivitis is a mild or moderate bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It can worsen, though, and turn into periodontal disease.
- How can you tell if you have gum disease? This infection is difficult to self-diagnose because it won’t cause painful symptoms at first. Some of the signs that you have a problem and need to see a dentist include:
- Swollen, inflamed, or puffy gums.
- Receding gums that show the tooth roots.
- Ongoing bad breath.
- Sores in the mouth that won’t heal.
- A consistent “bad taste” in your mouth no matter what you eat or drink.
- Browning and discoloration of the tooth crowns and gums.
- Loose-feeling teeth or tooth loss.
However, sometimes you can have gingivitis or gum disease and not have any of these symptoms. It’s best to treat with your dentist at least twice a year.
- How do you treat gum disease? Your treatment will be determined by your dentist after he or she evaluates you and sees how progressed the disease itself is. You may be a candidate for a non-surgical method of removing the infection, antibiotics, or antimicrobial applications.
If it’s too far gone for non-invasive methods, you may require surgery for the infected tooth roots to be exposed and cleaned. Laser periodontics make this an almost painless process, though.
- Does gum disease mean you have to lose all of your teeth? As with most diseases, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to recover. Depending on the advanced stage of your gum disease, you may already be experiencing symptoms of loose teeth or atrophy. If you feel like you may have gingivitis or even advanced gum disease, you should call your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage and bring your mouth back to a healthy state to keep your teeth.
Gum Disease FAQ Answered
Regular dental care at home is important to maintaining a healthy smile, but visiting your dentist throughout the year is important to catch any problems that may be sneaking up. Gum disease can be a silent tooth killer. It’s best to prevent it before it happens.