Do you know the signs of gum disease? Many people don't until their periodontal problems escalate, says the American Academy of Periodontology. At his Wichita, KS, family dentistry practice, Dr. John Lewis identifies gum disease, treats it and helps patients have healthy gums once again.
Signs (and dangers) of gum disease
It's important to know the signs of gum disease. Because this oral health condition is a major cause of tooth loss in the United States (according to the Centers for Disease Control), your Wichita, KS, family dentist and his team of assistants and hygienists check for gum disease when their patients visit Wichita Dental for six-month cleanings and examinations.
Here's what Dr. Lewis may see if periodontal disease has developed in a patient's mouth:
- Red, sore, bleeding gums
- Gum tissue receding from the teeth (periodontal "pockets" which measure three millimeters are considered unhealthy and in need of treatment)
- Changes in dental bite
- Tooth migration (loose teeth)
- Dental pain
- Sores on the gums and other parts of the mouth
- Bad breath, or halitosis
Gum disease severity varies from mild gingivitis (some bloody streaks when you brush or floss) to severe periodontitis. It all stems from plaque and tartar. They form from leftover food on teeth and gums. Untouched, the bacteria in both plaque and tartar cause tooth decay and--you guessed it--gum disease.
What you can do
Care for your gums as carefully as you care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily to remove plaque before it forms hard tartar. Also, Dr. Lewis wants to do a complete oral examination and cleaning every six months to check your oral health and to scale your teeth.
If he finds signs of gum disease, he may advise a deep cleaning and root planing. This in-office procedure removes plaque and tartar from between teeth and below the gum line. It helps gums re-attach to root surfaces and heals infection as the hygienist treats the gum with antibiotics. After completing treatment, the patient goes home with a periodontal maintenance schedule to keep tissues healthy.
Your periodontal health is vital. Preserve it with good at-home hygiene, and in-office care at Wichita Dental. Please call the office any time you have a concern about your gum health or if you need an appointment for your semi-annual cleaning. Phone (316) 265-0849.