Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can have a devastating effect on your oral health and your general state of wellness. At Kingsgate Dental Clinic, we educate our patients about gum disease and the ways they can prevent this condition. Should inflammation and infection occur, our staff has the necessary training and skill to treat the condition quickly.
Because gum disease continues to progress if not treated, it is recommended that you keep your six-month recall visits with your dentist and hygienist. Skipping even one appointment can result in irreversible damage to the gums and the bone.
Gum disease is an infection that results from oral bacteria. These microscopic organisms live in plaque, a biofilm that sticks to teeth. Ideally, plaque will be removed with daily brushing and flossing. However, because it cannot be seen, plaque tends to stick around. In time, this substance becomes hardened on the surface of a tooth or teeth. This is called tartar. Your dentist or hygienist is the only person who has the tools and techniques to remove tartar from your teeth. The bacteria that live in plaque and tartar deposit acid onto oral tissues, weakening them. The inflammation that results can cause gum tissue to pull away from teeth, creating pockets in which bacteria quickly colonize. Without proper treatment, the ligaments and bone in the jaw become compromised, making you vulnerable to tooth loss.
The best time to treat gum disease is in the early stage of gingivitis, when only superficial tissue is involved. At this time, the infection may be treated with a professional cleaning that removes tartar and plaque. The procedure referred to as scaling and root planing addresses infection and smooths the affected surfaces in order to encourage attachment with the gums. After scaling and root planing, patients are advised on how to care for their oral health effectively.
If gum disease is not treated early, it progresses to periodontal disease, in which vital structures are threatened. In addition to weakening bone and the periodontal ligament, bacteria from advanced gum disease have also been identified as a major risk in the development or worsening of several medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Advanced gum disease requires referral to a specialist, who may perform surgery to close periodontal pockets and save teeth.
The team at Kingsgate Dental Clinic is here to support you in your oral health goals. Schedule your checkup and cleaning in our Kirkland office.