Gum Disease Therapy for Ridgewood and Maspeth
The most common disease in the United States is not heart disease, strokes, or cancer. Actually, periodontal (gum) disease is the single most prevalent disease among American adults. Periodontal disease affect more people than heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer's, and cancer combined, and it is the leading cause of tooth loss among US adults over the age of 30. An estimated 80% of the population has some form of gum disease, though a large percentage of these patients remain undiagnosed. There are two main forms of periodontal disease: periodontitis (advanced) and gingivitis (mild).
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an irritation or infection of the soft tissues that support teeth, and it can usually be determined early in life whether a person is at risk. The disease progresses as a person ages and it becomes more difficult to control or eliminate. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, starts when plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus) below the gum line, irritating soft tissues and allowing infection to set in. The infection is easily and quickly spread due to the constant assault of new bacteria, food particles, and plaque on the gums. Symptoms are mild in the earliest phases and many patients don't recognize them at first. They include:
- Red, purple, or discolored gums
- Tender, irritated, itchy, or inflamed gum tissue
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding that occurs when brushing or flossing
As the condition progresses, gums recede from the teeth and pockets of bacteria form. The bacteria destroy gum tissue and bone, causing bone density and tooth loss. This more advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss, has more detrimental effects on oral health, and is much more difficult to treat overall. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Bleeding or inflamed gums, even when no pressure is placed on them
- Severe halitosis (bad breath) that is not affected by brushing or flossing
- Receding gum tissue (teeth that appear suddenly longer)
- Teeth that feel loose or a bite that doesn’t fit together like it did before
Why is Gum Disease So Serious?
Recent research reveals a linkage between gum disease and the increased risk for serious chronic and systemic illnesses. Many overall health problems (including but not limited to stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and dementia) have all been linked to poor oral health, especially the presence of periodontitis. Research continues, and in the coming years, we may learn much more about this inextricable link between oral and overall health.
Even without an exact link between these illnesses and gum disease, the connection makes perfect sense – you are what you eat, after all. Foods, bacteria, and other illnesses that enter the mouth have access to the whole body. Regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings at Maspeth Dental are not only essential for oral health, but overall health as well.
Is Gum Disease Curable?
Unfortunately, advanced gum disease cannot typically be cured, but with vigilance, patients are generally able to prevent recurrence of the disease. If we detect warning signs of gum disease at your regular dental checkups, treatment could be as simple as changing your brushing style or frequency, improving your flossing technique, using new hygiene products during your at-home care, and attending more cleanings at our Maspeth practice.
Once gum disease is more severe, we may be able to treat it with a variety of surgical or non-surgical therapies, including:
- Scaling – This removes hardened plaque below the gum line.
- Root Planing – This smooths out the rough areas on tooth roots, making it more difficult for plaque to latch onto teeth and irritate gums.
- Antibiotic Therapy with Arestin – By applying Arestin below the gums, we can help you battle infection at its source.
- Laser Treatment – This removes bacteria and promotes gum regrowth, healing, and reattachment.
- Surgery – Advanced cases of gum disease may require surgery Dr. Lefkowitz, our knowledgeable periodontal specialist, provides advanced surgical care for patients with periodontal disease.
Patients with periodontal disease should plan to attend more frequent visits with our dentist, hygienist, and periodontist. During these visits, oral and overall health will be monitored to ensure your recovery is on track, as well as to help prevent relapses or reinfection.
Contact the dedicated team at Maspeth Dental to schedule your appointment with Dr. Lorber, Dr. Lefkowitz, and the rest of our dedicated team. Our established practice provides patients in Ridgewood and surrounding areas with exemplary service and contemporary care!