It is very important for patients to take good care of their teeth to keep their smile healthy and free from gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is a serious issue that can develop with poor oral health habits. It can wreak havoc on a patient’s smile, and can cause irreversible damage to the teeth, bones, and gums. This is why it is crucial to brush and floss every day, as well as maintain regular recall appointments with their dentist.
Dr. Hatcher in Greensboro, North Carolina works with his patients to educate them on how to care for their smile properly to avoid the development and progression of periodontal disease. A healthy smile should have light pink gums that are free from inflammation and infection. During recall appointments, Dr. Hatcher will measure pocket depths between the gums and teeth to determine if periodontal disease has occurred. If so, he will provide proper treatment and give his patients the tools and knowledge they need to reverse or control the condition.
Several risk factors can increase a patient’s chance of developing periodontal disease. First, poor oral hygiene can contribute to the occurrence of periodontal disease, as well as tobacco use. Patients who have diabetes or other systemic diseases may be at a higher risk for gum disease, as well as those who are on specific types of medications, such as oral contraceptives, steroids, and cancer therapy drugs. Patients who are pregnant and experiencing a drastic change in their hormones may also notice an increase in inflammation and bleeding which signals that periodontal disease is forming.
The initial stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. This occurs when patients are experiencing red, inflamed gums, and bleeding when brushing and flossing their teeth. These are signs that the condition is starting to develop, at this point; patients should visit their dentist for an examination, proper diagnosis, and treatment.
When left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis, in which the gums recede and the bones begin to disintegrate. This can result in lost teeth, and the only way to restore a smile after periodontal disease is through treatments such as dentures or dental implants. However, patients must address their oral health issues before being able to enjoy the benefits of restorative treatments.