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Gum Disease Schererville, IN
The Cause of Gum Disease
Your immune system produces toxins to eliminate the bacteria found in dental plaque. However, these toxins are also harmful to your gum tissue and surrounding bone. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection that is caused by your immune system’s response to the bacteria in your mouth. If left untreated, you can experience tooth loss and other serious problems that affect your overall health.
While bacteria are the main source of gum disease, there are several factors that may put some patients at a greater risk. Risk factors include:
Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gum disease is broken down into two stages—gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, and often hard to detect. With little or no discomfort, and subtle warning signs, many patients may not know they have gingivitis. Gingivitis can cause gums that are red, swollen, and tend to bleed easily. At this stage, we can easily reverse gum disease with professional treatment and proper oral hygiene.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a much more serious form of gum disease that can damage gum tissue, connective ligaments, and support bone. As the infection spreads, your gums will separate from the teeth, and form deep periodontal pockets. These pockets can cause further infection by trapping bacteria and food debris below the gum line. Eventually, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and systemic conditions in the body. Your immune system is not designed to fight infection for long periods of time. Gum disease can wear down or weaken your immune response, increasing your risk of respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other complications.
Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease
Education is key to the prevention and treatment of gum disease. Above all else, a well-informed daily routine will significantly reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing after meals can help remove food debris and plaque right away. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Flossing at least once a day will remove debris and plaque from between your teeth and below the gumline. We may also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to flush out any remaining particles.
Regular exams and professional cleanings are also a crucial part of preventing gum disease. During your exam, we will be able to identify and diagnose signs of gingivitis before it develops into periodontitis. During your cleaning, our hygienist will keep bacteria at bay by removing plaque and tartar buildup from the surfaces of the tooth.
Periodontitis is treated with a scaling and root planing procedure, also known as a "deep cleaning." During the procedure, we will remove extensive plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the tooth, especially the deep periodontal pockets. The goal is to smooth out the surface of your root. A smooth root will keep bacteria, plaque, and tartar for reestablishing underneath the gums, and allow your tissue to properly reattach to the tooth.
In severe cases of gum disease, tooth extraction may be necessary. Crossroads Family Dental offers several forms of tooth replacement treatment designed to restore the function and cosmetics of your smile.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you are interested in maintaining or improving your periodontal health, schedule your appointment by calling (219) 440-2950.