While easily one of the most preventable oral conditions, gum disease remains one of the most prevalent oral health problems in America. Estimates by the CDC suggest that somewhere around 47.2% of American adults have some form of gum disease. In older populations, this estimate rises to 70.1% of adults over 65.
Although the condition can be reversed in it’s earliest stages, progression happens fast and can seriously compromise your oral health, leading to tooth loss in some of the more severe cases of gum disease. With these serious consequences in mind, our team at Pristine Periodontics and Implants is dedicated to educating patients on all aspects of gum disease.
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease starts when plaque accumulates around the gum line. While this naturally occurring byproduct can be removed with daily flossing, it can also accumulate and harden quickly into tartar, a film that is traditionally removed when you visit your dentist for your routine cleaning.
This is typically where the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis starts. When plaque accumulates along the gums, the resulting bacteria irritate the delicate gum tissue, causing it to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. In this first stage, aggressive flossing and teeth brushing combined with a visit to your Birmingham dentist can help remove plaque and reverse the symptoms of gingivitis. When left untreated however, the condition quickly worsens into periodontitis.
During this second stage of gum disease, plaque and bacteria accumulation widens the spaces between the teeth and gums, creating what are known as periodontal pockets. Over time these spaces trap bacteria and plaque, which are difficult to remove without professional assistance. These periodontal pockets only worsen a patient’s condition as toxins produced by the bacteria continue to cause gum inflammation and gradually travel to the tooth roots and jawbone below. In this stage, patients experience severe gum bleeding, inflammation, swollen gums, and the appearance of receding gums or longer teeth.
As the destructive symptoms of periodontitis typically go unnoticed, many patients can see their condition quickly worsen into periodontitis. During this advanced form of gum disease, tooth loss, gum deterioration, and bone deterioration are extremely common. Treatment for aggressive periodontitis often means extensive bone grafting, gum grafting, and permanent restorations like dental implants or implant dentures.
Periodontitis doesn’t just affect your oral health – the disease also has lasting consequences for your overall wellbeing. In recent years, studies have linked the same bacteria that causes gum disease to a number of cardiac and systemic health problems including:
In pregnant women, gum disease not only poses a risk to the mother but also to the unborn child. Studies have suggested that women with gum disease during pregnancy are much more likely to experience a high risk pregnancy as well as deliver prematurely. Pregnancy gingivitis is also a real and serious condition where most pregnant women develop gum disease, endangering the health of the mother and child.
With these consequences in mind, early and comprehensive gum disease treatment is critical to helping patients protect themselves from long-term health complications.
When it comes to preventing and treating gum disease, patient education is just as important as treating the condition. If you notice your smile is showing some of the early signs of gingivitis, schedule a visit to Dr. Sayed today. As a specially-trained periodontist, our Birmingham dentist has spent years studying gum health and is uniquely qualified to provide patients with a comprehensive and long-term treatment plan. Call Pristine Periodontics today to learn more. We accept referrals and self-referred appointments.
Dr. Abdullah Sayed
2425 East Lincoln St., Suite 100
Monday: 8AM - 5PM
Tuesday: 7AM - 2PM
Wednesday: 1PM - 7PM
Thursday: 8AM - 2PM