If you’re one of the 47% of American adults living with gum disease, it’s important to take action. Without prompt treatment, gum disease may increase your risk of serious health problems including high blood pressure or heart disease. At Boca Mission Bay Dentistry in Boca Raton, Florida, cosmetic dentist Dennis Sierra, DMD, offers safe, effective treatment for gum disease. To schedule an appointment, call the office and speak with a friendly staff member or book a consultation online today.
Gum disease is a serious health problem caused by a bacterial infection. It occurs when food and plaque become trapped between your teeth and gums, causing them to swell and recede.
Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that hardens over time, turning into tartar. If the plaque extends below your gum line, it triggers inflammation, and in turn, gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease causes your teeth to become loose and unstable. If the infection continues, extractions may be necessary.
There are several types of gum disease, but gingivitis and periodontitis account for the majority of infections.
Gingivitis causes your gums to become red, puffy, and irritated. Early on, gingivitis presents few obvious symptoms. As it progresses, you might notice that your gums bleed whenever you brush or floss.
Periodontitis is a more serious infection. Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis if plaque accumulates beneath your gum line. Over time, periodontitis damages your teeth and bones. If caught early, it’s possible to treat, preventing further damage.
The symptoms of gum disease vary and depend on the severity of the infection. Telltale signs of gum disease include:
As gum disease gets worse, you might also experience inflammation or swelling throughout your body.
To diagnose gum disease, Dr. Sierra conducts an oral exam, reviews your oral health history, and asks about your lifestyle and symptoms. He also measures the pockets of your gums using a tiny ruler called a probe. Large gum pockets indicate the presence of gum disease.
If these measures don’t provide enough information, he might also order digital X-rays to get a closer look at your tooth roots and jawbone.
Whenever possible, Dr. Sierra treats gum disease by promoting good oral hygiene. If you only have gingivitis, you can prevent further damage by brushing your teeth twice-a-day, flossing once each day, and visiting Boca Mission Bay Dentistry every six months for a professional exam and cleaning.
If you have periodontitis, a more invasive treatment like scaling and root planing may be necessary. During scaling and root planing, Dr. Sierra removes plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. This smooths the root surfaces and assists your gums in healing. Over time your gum pockets shrink and the inflammation subsides.
To explore your treatment options for gum disease, schedule an appointment at Boca Mission Bay Dentistry. Call the office and speak with a friendly staff member or book a consultation online today.