A: Gum Disease or periodontitis is a serious chronic inflammatory infection of the gums. It is caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. The longer they’re there the more harmful they become and you can develop Gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by your dentist.
If left untreated, Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis.
- Your gums are red, swollen, or tender to the touch.
- Your gums bleed during and after tooth brushing.
- Persistent bad breath or foul taste in the mouth.
- A receding gum line showing more and more of your teeth.
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums. At Benchmark Dental we measure to periodically check and record the depth of these pockets.
- Loose or shifting teeth.
- Painful chewing. Sometimes this pain can be so severe that a person can only eat very soft food.
Periodontitis is a primary cause of lost teeth. It is not uncommon to have a patient who has no cavities at all, but who is losing teeth due to poor gum health.
Many patients who come to our office for the first time are surprised when they hear that they have periodontitis. They don’t believe they are having trouble because they do not have pain. This is very common for the early stages of gum disease. It is nearly always painless, and most of the changes occur out of sight. For this reason, we complete a comprehensive examination involving xrays, pocket measurements, and sometimes even DNA testing of the bacteria in a patient’s mouth. These help us avoid guesswork and to have objective evidence that allows us to customize treatment to the individual needs of each patient. If you are concerned about the health of your gums, if it has been over a year since your last dental visit, or if your dentist doesn’t measure and discuss the depths of the pockets around your teeth, you owe it to yourself to schedule a visit with Michelle, our hygienist.