The Importance of Healthy Gums

Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss.
It is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tartar that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil and part of the tree’s roots, causing the tree to collapse.
Some symptoms of gum disease:

  • Any changes in tissue color
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Inflammation
  • Separation from enamel
  • Obvious plaque deposits
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bad breath

The Dangers of Advanced Gum Disease

Severe gum disease harms more than just the gum tissue – it starts there, then undermines the health of teeth, and can spread to the jaw bones if left untreated. In the first stage, minor inflammation and redness appear (known as gingivitis). In the later stages, you may experience significant bone loss. Our goal at Dr. Mooney’s office is to identify gum problems before they significantly impact your smile and give you preventive dental care to avoid issues in the future.

  • Gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that is fully reversible
  • Periodontal disease is a more serious level of gum disease
  • Juvenile periodontitis causes bone loss in the central incisors and first molars of children

Gum Disease Treatment

Treatment is difficult once gum disease has settled in, because it’s a vicious circle. When plaque has been left on the teeth too long, it enables bacteria to spread; bacteria grows below the gumline; gums recede, creating larger pockets for bacteria; causing more gum recession – and so on.

The primary goal is to reduce the size of the periodontal pockets , allowing patients to effectively remove plaque and bacteria with at-home cleaning. Dr. Mooney may try deep cleaning, gum surgery, bone grafts, and/or antibiotics to minimize the effects of gum disease. A gum treatment called scaling and root planing combines deep plaque removal with a smoothing technique on the tooth roots.
Dr. Mooney will give you instruction on successful oral hygiene techniques. You may be asked to increase the frequency of your dental visits for close monitoring (periodontal maintanence), at least until the disease is under control.

Don’t ignore your gums any longer. Find out if they are as healthy as they should be. Contact Alamo Family Dental for a comprehensive evaluation and expert gum treatment.