Gum disease is a condition that affects nearly half of Americans over the age of 35, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s a startling number, and it means that we need to start increasing public awareness about this chronic condition. Keep reading to learn more about gum disease — including how to tell when it’s time for periodontal therapy in Wakefield.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a chronic condition of the gum tissue. It occurs when bacteria creates a home in spaces between the gums and teeth, forming what we call periodontal pockets. Left untreated, gum disease causes tooth loss and can take a toll on an otherwise healthy body. It has been linked to heart problems, diabetes, memory loss, and even certain types of cancer.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The most common cause of gum disease is insufficient dental hygiene. When you do not brush and floss your teeth properly, bacteria starts to settle in and eventually leads to infection. Other factors can also accelerate the rate of gum disease, including dry mouth, tobacco, and certain medications. Older people are more likely to have gum disease, but it can affect smiles of all ages.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
Our team will monitor your gum health during routine checkups and cleanings, measuring the periodontal pockets to assess the need for gum disease treatment. In the beginning stages, when the pockets measure between 2 and 4 millimeters, the infection can still be reversed. Once they have reached a depth of 5 millimeters, though, we will recommend a treatment called scaling and root planing. This is the number one defense against moderate levels of gum disease. It is a treatment in which your dentist or hygienist cleans above and just below the gum line, removing infected tissue and smoothing out the tooth’s root to prevent reinfection. Scaling and root planing usually takes place over the course of several appointments and is often combined with antibiotic therapy.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Because the most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, the best way to prevent it is simply to take excellent care of your teeth. Brush for two minutes, at least twice a day, and floss daily. Routine visits to your dentist are also crucial — when we can see your gums regularly, we can monitor any suspicious areas and provide extra hygiene to help ensure you never have to experience the harmful effects of gum disease.
With that last point in mind, it’s time to ask — when was YOUR last visit to the dentist? If it’s been a minute, it’s time to check in with your dentist in Westfield at Indy Dental Group. We’re here to help you smile healthily for life!
Meet the Practice
Indy Dental Group provides comprehensive dental care from the comfort of a state-of-the-art office. To learn more about treatment for gum disease in Westfield or to schedule an appointment for superior general, restorative, or cosmetic dentistry, please do not hesitate to get in touch at (317) 867-5400.