If you experience bleeding while brushing and flossing, you may have gum disease. Ignoring the early signs of gum disease can lead to serious oral health problems, including tooth loss. General dentistry treatments are essential for preventing gum disease, protecting oral health, and keeping the smile looking and functioning at its best. Don't let gum disease go untreated. To find out which gum disease and tooth loss treatments are right for you, schedule a consultation with Knoxville, TN dentist Thomas G. Zarger.
Recognizing Gum Disease
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection caused by the bacteria found in plaque and tartar. The early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, are often marked by red, inflamed, tender gums. Bleeding is often present when brushing and flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis may progress to the more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is also recognized by bleeding gums, as well as chronic bad breath, pockets between the gums and teeth, and gum recession.
Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Gum disease is dangerous to oral health, ultimately leading to tooth loss if left untreated. There are many ways in which gum disease can lead to tooth loss, causing irreversible damage. Some of ways in which gum disease can lead to tooth loss include:
- Pocket formation: If left untreated, gum disease can lead to pockets forming between the teeth and gums. Pockets form as plaque and tartar collect along the gum line. Once pockets start to form, more plaque, tartar, and food remnants are allowed to collect between the teeth and gums, causing the pockets to grow. Over time, these pockets can lead to tooth decay below the gum line and may cause tooth loss.
- Gum recession: Gum disease can cause the gums to recede, loosening the gums hold on the teeth. As recession becomes severe, areas of the teeth may become exposed to bacteria, making them vulnerable to decay and tooth loss.
- Infection of the structures supporting the teeth: Gum disease can spread beyond the gums down to the structures supporting the teeth, specifically the jaw bone. When these structures become infected, they may no longer be able to support the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
- Tooth decay: Gum disease can lead to tooth decay at and below the gum line. When the roots of the tooth become decayed, the entire health of the tooth becomes threatened. If left untreated, severe tooth decay can cause a tooth to die and fall out or require extraction as a means to restore oral health.
Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Gum disease and related tooth loss can be prevented with proper oral hygiene habits and regular dental care. Brushing and flossing are essential to oral hygiene and should never be skipped. Be sure to brush the teeth at least twice a day for a full two minutes each brushing, paying close attention to the hard to reach areas of the back teeth and along the gum line. Flossing is just as important as brushing and should be done at least once a day, everyday. Flossing is more effective at removing plaque between the teeth and along the gum line than flossing alone. Also, seeing your dentists every six months for a checkup and cleaning can further prevent gum disease, tooth loss, and many other oral health problems.
Learn More about Your Treatment Options
If you suffer from gum disease or tooth loss, you can enjoy restored dental health and function with treatment from Dr. Zarger. To learn more about your treatment options, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today.