Dr. Jason Baldwin and the team at Baldwin DDS emphasize the importance of maintaining gum health as part of our comprehensive preventive dental care program. We perform a thorough periodontal screening is a part of any routine dental exam in our Truckee, CA dentist office.
Gum disease is often called the “silent disease” because most people do not realize they have it until they visit the dentist or begin to suffer from complex dental problems as it advances. It can affect patients of all ages and is something that most people will experience to some degree at some point in their lives.
It is important to note that gum disease remains a leading cause of tooth loss in adults today- one that is largely preventable with routine dental care. Healthy gums are the supporting structure for your teeth- if they lose their foundation, problems begin to arise such as decay, loose teeth, and changes in the bite.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, the ugly coating of bacteria excrement that constantly builds up on your teeth. The bacteria’s excrement (plaque) contains chemical compounds that can damage the teeth and gums. Gum disease attacks at the connection of your teeth and gum line in the sulcus, where it damages the supporting and connective tissues. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease.
Eventually, pockets can become so deep that your tooth is no longer attached to your gums or jawbone. This sets the stage for shifting of teeth, changes in the bite, and eventually tooth loss.
Some patients are more prone to developing gum disease for a variety of reasons from genetics to medical conditions. If you are taking prescribed medication we recommend you discuss it with us during a routine dental visit so that we can alert you to any possible oral health side effects. Personalized care and hygiene advice are some of the hallmarks of our dental practice.
What Are The Signs of Gum Disease?
Understanding the common signs of developing gum disease is important- addressing them as quickly as possible is even more important. We will screen for gum disease every visit in an effort to spot it early and offer conservative treatment measures to restore health.
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Sore, red, or swollen gums
- Shifting teeth
- Persistent bad breath
Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease presents in two stages:
- Gingivitis: early-stage gum disease is characterized by mild symptoms such as bleeding or irritated gums. This is an indication that plaque is building up along the gum line and infection is growing.
- Periodontitis: advanced gum disease will result in changes in the teeth and the bite as the gum tissue is compromised by bacteria and begins to pull away from the teeth.
Many patients will experience gingivitis in their lifetime, but routine dental care and prompt treatment is the key to avoiding advanced disease and its effects on overall dental health.
Treating Gum Disease in Truckee, CA
Dr. Baldwin will assess your gum health and recommend any necessary treatment if the disease is present. Treatment may consist of both in-office procedures and at-home care to keep the gums healthy for the long term. Treatment options can include:
- Scaling and root planing: an in-office procedure that will thoroughly remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets along the gum line.
- Anti-bacterial rinses: used as part of your at-home oral hygiene, these products can minimize bacteria in the mouth to keep gum disease from recurring.
- Laser dentistry: Dr. Baldwin may use a dental laser to remove diseased gum tissue and restore your oral health. Laser dentistry provides effective, accurate treatment with less pain, bleeding, and downtime.
Why Treat Gum Disease?
Recent studies have shown an association between gum disease and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight, and systemic disease. Because gum disease can have an adverse effect on your overall health, Dr. Baldwin strongly suggests getting professional cleanings at least every six months.
Healthy gums serve as a protective barrier between the over 500 different types of bacteria on the mouth and your bloodstream, which can transport them around the body. Poor gum health enables bacteria to affect your overall health and lead to inflammation that causes a wide range of problems.
Ultimately, patients with advanced and untreated gum disease are at greater risk for developing cardiovascular and systemic diseases such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. For those already suffering from these health problems, poor gum health can increase the severity of their symptoms and make their disease difficult to manage and treat effectively.
Studies continue to evaluate the proven oral-systemic connection and the relationship between inflammation in the body and the incidence of disease. A healthy mouth can be the foundation of overall health and wellness.
The “simple” act of visiting with us twice a year has many benefits for your health- and your quality of life.
Gum Disease FAQ
Is gum disease contagious?
Since gum disease is caused by bacteria and inflammation that is present near the gums, technically it is not contagious. However, the bacteria that has caused the inflammation can be present in the saliva. To avoid the spread of the bacteria, you should not share anything that goes in the mouth with a person who has periodontal disease.
Is gum disease genetic?
It has been proven that periodontal disease can run in the family. However, many other factors will contribute to whether or not you get it. If you brush your teeth and floss daily, visit the dentist twice a year for plaque removal, and take care of your overall health, you will significantly lower your risk.
I suffer from gum disease, and mine have receded. Will they grow back once I seek treatment?
No, gum tissue does not regenerate like other tissue in the body can. Once you suffer from the damage caused by gum disease, you will need to seek treatment to correct it. Dr. Baldwin will review your options with you on how to restore your gum tissue.
Can you fix gum disease without going to the dentist?
You can only reverse signs of gum inflammation or gingivitis at home. Flossing before brushing your teeth and brushing for two minutes twice a day can stop signs of gingivitis, including bleeding gums. However, once gingivitis becomes gum disease, you will need professional care.
Will your teeth fall out if you have gum disease?
Patients will only experience loose or missing teeth in the later stages of gum disease. Patients with advanced periodontitis can experience deep gum pockets, loose teeth, gingival bleeding, and severe bad breath. Advanced periodontitis requires oral surgery to reduce gum pockets and prevent further damage. However, preventative care in our office and at home can stop gum disease from reaching this point.
How long can you live with gum disease?
Gum disease is not life-threatening. However, gum disease can make everyday life uncomfortable if you aren’t receiving professional care for your symptoms. Once you get in touch with a dentist and begin taking control of your gum health, you can live more comfortably and live a long life while treating gum disease.
Schedule A Dental Exam and Consultation
Are you looking for a dentist in Tahoe City CA, or Lake Tahoe, CA area dentist to treat your gum disease? Dr. Baldwin is currently accepting new patients! Contact our office or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to meeting the oral health needs of you and your family.