Signs You Might Have Gum Disease and What To Do Williston Park, NY
Dental product commercials frequently bring up phrases like Gum Disease, Gingivitis, and Periodontitis, but what is it and do you have it? The bad news is that many adults suffer from some level of these phrases, but the good news is that it is easy to spot and easy to keep at bay. Our staff at Long Island Smile can help you get healthier gums and show you the tips, tools, and information you need to keep them.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. It can occur quite easily, our mouths are constantly being exposed to bacteria. Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease, and it is the most common stage for people to develop. Gingivitis can be quickly battled with a dental cleaning from a professional hygienist. Removing bacteria is the primary reason for your two annual dental cleanings and why they are such important appointments to keep. Periodontitis, or chronic periodontitis, is an active bacterial infection that is raging below the gum line. As this infection rages, it widens the gap between your teeth and gums, known as gum pockets, separating your teeth from the supportive tissue. The infection can also attack your bone, eating away at it, causing severe damage. Proper care of your teeth and gums, along with maintaining a good hygiene routine with our office, can make a significant difference in your oral health.
Stages of Gum Disease
We bring in bacteria into our mouths from things we consume and the air we breathe. This bacteria can settle in plaque that naturally forms in our mouth. Plaque is a sticky material that is a blend of food debris and saliva. Most plaque gets washed away, but some can rest on the surface of our teeth, in between teeth and along the gum ridge. Take a quick look in the mirror, do you see yellowish-white gummy material along your teeth ridge? The bacteria in your plaque happily thrive on the food particles in the blend. The bacteria will feed on the sugar and then emit an acid which decays your enamel and attacks your soft tissue.
Gums that become irritated from the bacteria is the first stage, known as gingivitis. This irritation is your gums way of saying that they are being attacked. You may notice a thin red line along the ridge of your gums, or the tissue may be sensitive. Some patients may see slight levels of blood when they floss or brush. This is your tissues way of telling you that it is fighting an infection. A fight that it can not win on its own.
If the bacteria source stays in place, it will become worse. The bacteria can dip below the gum line. As the bacteria rages below the gum line, your gum pockets will deepen, separating your teeth and gums. During your hygiene appointments, the hygienist will measure these gum pockets, anything greater than 3mm is a sign of a problem.
We can remove the source of infection with a dental cleaning, and in many cases, our adult patients require a deep cleaning through scaling and root planing. Scaling is the removal of debris, including plaque and hardened plaque known as tartar. We use an ultrasonic scaler to blast a direct stream of water and a vibrating tip to remove the infected debris. Next, we smooth the roots of the tooth, which would have become damaged from the debris. Smoothing the roots will help prevent future material from attaching.
Along with adjustments to your home hygiene routine, we can help you have healthier teeth and gums.