If you noticed your nose was bleeding every day, you might be worried it could be a sign of something serious. Yet most people don’t feel alarmed when they notice bleeding after brushing or flossing, a leading indicator of potentially severe disease.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, one out of two American adults has periodontal disease. You might find this surprising, but many people have periodontal disease and don’t even know it.
In the earliest stages, periodontal disease often doesn’t have many symptoms, and it’s easy to write off the early signs of gum disease that show up as something else entirely.
In addition to periodontal disease being so pervasive, it’s much more concerning than many people realize. Recent research has linked periodontal disease to systemic severe health conditions, including heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes.
At King Dental, we take periodontal disease seriously. We will help you learn proper home care techniques and practices to help prevent periodontal disease from starting in the first place. Unfortunately, however, periodontal disease does have a genetic component, and some people may be more prone to it, despite good home care habits.
If you are showing signs of periodontal disease, we’ll work with you to get it under control and treat any damage that has occurred. If you are near Huntsville, AL, and think you may have gum disease or would simply like to learn more, please give Dr. David King at King Dental a call to schedule a consultation.
Periodontal disease is often referred to as gum disease, but this name can be a bit misleading. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect the soft gum tissue; it also attacks the bone, periodontal ligaments, and connective tissues that hold your teeth in place. In the earliest stages of gum disease, called “gingivitis,” the infection only affects the gums; if left untreated, it can start affecting other structures around the tooth.
Advanced stages of gum disease—periodontal disease—can lead to loose teeth, and ultimately tooth loss. Gingivitis refers to the early signs of gum disease where your gums are inflamed. Periodontal disease occurs when gingivitis is untreated and reaches below the gum line.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria found in plaque, something you’ve heard about in commercials, ads, and at your dentist’s office. Plaque forms on your teeth to protect them from bacteria. Without proper oral hygiene to brush and floss plaque away, it can cause inflammation of the gums.
It’s important to brush and floss every day and visit Dr. King as often as he recommends. At-home oral maintenance can remove most of the plaque that builds up, but only professional cleanings at your Huntsville, AL, dental office can remove all the plaque and keep it under control.
If plaque is allowed to build up, it can spread below the gum line, where your toothbrush can’t reach; this is how gum disease starts and spreads. You will know that plaque has reached below the gum line if your gums are swollen or bleeding. When gum tissue begins to swell, it can detach from your tooth, creating a space between the tooth and gums. Bacteria love this unreachable space, and more plaque can form.
Calcified plaque can harden and become tartar, which is rougher than enamel. The texture of tartar can encourage more plaque to grow, accelerating gum disease.
The disease is a chronic infection caused by bacteria. The early stages of gum disease, or gingivitis, are often characterized by swollen, red, tender gums along with bad breath and bleeding when you brush or floss. You may have one or more of these symptoms or even none at all. In this stage, small pockets form between the gums and the teeth and become a home for the bacteria that cause problems.
When we catch periodontal disease early, we can often reverse the disease progression by performing a thorough cleaning, helping you improve your home care, and adding antimicrobial products if necessary.
If you notice the following signs, you may have gum disease and should see Dr. King as soon as possible:
As the disease progresses, the pockets become larger, and your gums start to pull back from your teeth, exposing the root surface, leading to sensitivity and an increased risk of decay. Your teeth may begin to feel loose and, without treatment, you are likely to lose teeth. In fact, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss among American adults.
The longer plaque is allowed to form on your teeth, the worse the disease is. When gums are inflamed, it is called “gingivitis,” a mild form of gum disease that can be reversed with good oral hygiene of brushing and flossing. At this stage, your bone and tissue are not affected.
When left untreated, gingivitis can advance to “periodontitis.” At this stage, your gums form pockets around your teeth that become affected. At this stage, your bone and connective tissue can become infected and destroyed. At this stage, Dr. King will have to treat it at King Dental since brushing and flossing at home will not affect anything below the gum line.
Our team will work with you to determine the extent of your disease and help get it under control. One of the primary treatments we use at our Huntsville, AL dental office is a deep cleaning therapy known as scaling and root planing.
This treatment removes the infection-causing bacteria from beneath the gumline and smooths out the tooth root's surface to help prevent reinfection. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may also recommend surgery to eliminate the pockets and allow the gums fit more snugly around the teeth.
Do you notice bleeding after you brush your teeth or when you floss? That’s a warning sign of early gum inflammation—and it may not go away.
While we can reverse the early stages of gum disease through good oral hygiene, once the plaque reaches below the gum line, you will need professional intervention by Dr. King.
The earlier we can catch periodontal disease, the easier it is to treat. If you’re due for a cleaning or have noticed any of the signs of periodontal disease, please call our office right away to schedule your next appointment in Huntsville, AL.