Gum disease is a major threat to your teeth and to your overall health. Not only does untreated gum disease lead to tooth loss, but many major diseases have been linked to periodontal infection. It is essential to seek treatment—and the sooner the better, because it is the nature of gum disease to progress over time, leading to worse symptoms and a more difficult recovery the longer it lasts. If you put off seeking gum disease treatment, it will develop into a much bigger problem.
The early signs
Gum disease starts with gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. You may notice that your gums are red, that they become more sensitive, and that they bleed easily when you brush and floss. Gingivitis can often be corrected at home by refocusing on your daily oral hygiene regimen, brushing and flossing more carefully with particular attention to the area just below the gumline.
A haven for bacteria
If gingivitis is not corrected, you will begin to develop periodontal pockets. Although it is normal in a healthy mouth to have a shallow pocket between your tooth and your gum, periodontal disease deepens that pocket dramatically, allowing bacteria space to grow right against the surface of your tooth. This leads to the development of tartar on the tooth surface, which in turn irritates the gum tissue and causes the periodontal pocket to grow even deeper. Once these pockets begin to form, their existence is a vicious cycle which can only be ended with professional periodontal treatment. As the premier periodontists in Fishers and Indianapolis, Dr. Edwards is pleased to offer periodontal cleanings and pocket reduction surgery to correct periodontal pockets.
If periodontal pockets are left unchecked, the bone near the site of infection will begin to deteriorate, causing your teeth to loosen in their sockets. You may notice shifting of the teeth, in addition to the soreness of your gums. Your teeth will eventually be lost when the bone and gum tissue are no longer sufficient to support them. Fortunately, up to that point, it is usually possible to save your teeth through guided bone regeneration, which encourages bone regrowth by blocking off the area from faster-growing soft tissue.
At the worst, when teeth are lost, they can be replaced with dental implants. But each of these procedures is more expensive and invasive than the last. Where possible, you should address periodontal disease before it grows any worse. For more information on the treatments available, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Edwards, call our office or contact us online.