WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Most people do not realize how common periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is. Three out of every four adults have some form of the disease. In its early reversible stage, called gingivitis, gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. When the disease progresses to the bone, which supports the teeth, it is called periodontitis. At this point it can cause irreversible damage. In the advanced stages of the disease, the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth are destroyed and this may cause the teeth to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
Except in rare cases, gum disease can be prevented by thorough daily plaque removal by brushing and flossing, eating a balanced diet and by regularly visiting your dentist for professional cleanings. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough porous deposit called tartar. Tartar is what causes most of the eventual damage and can only be removed by a dental professional.
TREATING GUM DISEASE
If you have a gum disease problem that is serious enough to threaten the loss of teeth, the dentist may recommend one of several options in treating this problem. If the teeth are beyond saving, there may be no alternative but to extract them and remove the diseased gum tissue so the condition will not spread to other teeth.
When the gum disease is in its early stages, however, the dentist may recommend more conservative treatment, such as sub gingival curettage. In this procedure, concentration will be on cleaning the root surfaces of the tooth and scraping the inside of the soft tissue next to the teeth. By doing this, he may be able to restore your gums and teeth to a healthy condition.
Another treatment that may be recommended is flap surgery. This involves separating the diseased gum tissue from the teeth and cleaning it as thoroughly as possible. Then he gum tissue is sutured back to the teeth and allowed to heal.