Gum disease is a chronic health issue and a two-stage condition that is caused by a buildup of oral bacteria. If left untreated, the condition can cause serious health concerns once it has spread throughout the inner linings of the gums and the bacteria has worked its way into the bone tissue. Patients suffering from severe periodontal disease often experience tooth loss, bone atrophy, and long-term health problems as a consequence. Whether you are seeking to prevent the condition or are already experiencing symptoms of gum disease, Dr. Thomas G. Zarger offers both periodontal therapy and preventive treatments at our practice in Knoxville, TN.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a two-stage condition that starts with gingivitis and, without treatment, can develop into periodontitis, a more severe form of the disease. In the early stages of gingivitis, bacteria will begin to accumulate along the gum line, causing redness and inflammation. During this time, patients may experience some minor bleeding and irritation during brushing and flossing. If gingivitis is left untreated, the bacteria can begin to move deeper into the gums and develop into periodontitis. Signs of periodontitis include the formation of bacterial pockets around your teeth, receding gums, and the loosening of connective tissues. During this time, patients often experience more excessive bleeding, tooth loss, and chronic bad breath.
While the buildup of bacterial plaque is the main cause, there are many contributing factors that can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, including:
Smoking and Tobacco Use: Studies have continuously showed that tobacco use and cigarettes are one of the most significant risk factors and major contributors to the development of gum disease.
Genetics: Even with proper treatment and good cleaning habits, nearly 30 percent of the population is more susceptible to gum disease because of genetics.
Pregnancy: During pregnancy, women experience hormonal changes that can affect different areas of the body, including the gums.
Teeth Grinding: Bruxism, or teeth grinding, puts additional stress on the gums and teeth, which can weaken the support tissues of your mouth.
Diabetes: Fluctuations in blood sugar can put patients at a higher risk of developing severe cases of gum disease.
Maintaining Optimal Oral Health
The best way to protect your gums from disease is to seek early treatment and to schedule routine cleanings and examinations. During a cleaning, Dr. Zarger or one of our skilled hygienists will remove plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth and along your gum line. At these routine visits, we will also examine your gums, teeth, cheeks, and jaw to ensure that there are no signs of developing disease or other oral health issues. If you have already developed advanced gum disease, we offer various periodontal therapy treatments.
Ask Us How to Prevent Gum Disease
If you are concerned that you may be at a higher risk for gum disease, or you have already noticed that your gums are bleeding or inflamed, please contact us by sending us a message, or give us a call at (865)276-7098.