Over 80% of Americans have some level of gum disease, also called periodontal disease. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Because the initial signs are mild, some people don’t even realize they have a problem until the disease has wreaked havoc on their mouths and oral health. If you have concerns about gum disease, we offer periodontal services to halt the progression and re-establish dental health.
Plaque is a sticky substance emitted by oral bacteria. It coats teeth and can harden into tartar, an insoluble substance that irritates gum tissue and leads to infection. The early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, causes swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. Bacteria eat away the connective tissues between gums and teeth. As the disease progresses, your gums pull away from teeth and pockets of infection will form.
At scheduled dental cleanings, which you should have every six months, a hygienist will check for periodontal pockets. If you have pockets, their depth will be measures to determine the extent of the disease. Sometimes removing tartar from below the gum line and smoothing teeth roots–a procedure called scaling and root planing–can turn the tide and eliminate infection. Over time, gums heal and reattach to teeth. However, in some cases, gum disease requires more extensive treatment.
For more information about periodontics or gum disease, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at our Washington, DC dental office.