Things to Know About Gum Disease

If you haven’t been told that you have gum disease, then it may not seem like such a big deal. Your teeth are sturdy, your gums don’t hurt, and the destructive consequences of gum disease may seem like a distant threat. Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, warns that such detachment might lead you to become slightly less diligent in your fight against the destructive condition. Poor hygiene and neglect can allow gum disease to gather force, often unnoticed, and advanced gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the country.

There’s More than One Kind of Gum Disease

Gum disease that experts most warn about, the disease that can cause you to lose teeth, is more precisely known as periodontitis, and is a severe form of gum disease that can attack the jawbone underneath your gums. Before the condition becomes so severe, gum disease begins as a bacterial infection of the gums, called gingivitis. Some oral bacteria release toxins that cause your gums to separate from your teeth, creating pockets for more germs to accumulate. Others incite inflammation, causing the redness, swelling, and bleeding associated with gingivitis. Treating gum disease depends on the stage at which it’s caught, and can range from a deep cleaning and improved hygiene to a surgical gum graft and tooth replacement.

There’s More than One Way to Defeat Gum Disease

A deep cleaning, or periodontal cleaning, involves carefully removing bacteria from your teeth roots’ surfaces below your gums, referred to as scaling. Treatment also includes root planing, or smoothing the roots’ surfaces, to discourage bacterial plaque buildup in the future. If gum disease causes irreversible damage to a portion of your gums, then the tissue may have to be surgically replaced with a gum graft. The most effective method of defeating gum disease, however, is to prevent it from forming, which can be accomplished with diligent brushing and flossing and strict attendance at your dental checkups and cleanings.

About Dr. Steven Van Wicklen:

Since 1985, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen has been providing expert cosmetic and restorative dentistry services to patients and families in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next dental consultation, call our office today at (512) 448-3131.