Gum disease can permanently alter your smile if you don't obtain prompt treatment for your symptoms. Our Boynton Beach, FL, dentist, Dr. Peter Silberstein, discusses gum disease and shares a few common signs.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, formally called periodontal disease, causes your gums to become inflamed or infected. The problem starts when tartar builds up on your teeth and irritates your sensitive gum tissue. Because tartar can only be removed with dental instruments, visiting our office every six months for dental cleanings is an excellent way to reduce your gum disease risk. You may be at higher risk of developing the disease if you have poor oral hygiene, smoke, grind or clench your teeth.
What are the signs of gum disease?
Symptoms may not seem too alarming if you have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause bleeding when brushing or flossing, bad breath and swollen gums. Have you noticed that your teeth look a little longer than usual? You may have receding gums, a common sign of gingivitis.
Your symptoms may worsen if you don't visit our Boynton Beach office when you first notice the signs of gingivitis. As the disease progresses, the signs are impossible to overlook. Swelling will increase and your gums will constantly look red. Infections are likely, particularly if you've developed spaces around the teeth called pockets. Bacteria growing in the pockets can damage the bones and ligaments that support your teeth. Once damage occurs, you may be at risk of losing your teeth.
Pain usually accompanies the later stages of gum disease. It may increase when you eat and put pressure on your swollen, infected gum tissue. Pain can also be caused by your receding gums. As your gums recede, they expose your sensitive tooth roots. When roots are exposed, every time you take a bite or sip of a food or beverage that's sweet, cold or hot, pain may increase.
Prompt treatment is essential if you want to protect your teeth. During the early phase of the disease, a deep cleaning will remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. Surgery to reduce the pocket size may be needed if the disease is severe.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are an excellent way to prevent gum disease. If you think you may have gum disease or need to schedule your next visit, call your Boynton Beach, FL, dentist, Dr. Silberstein, at (561) 459-1600 to schedule an appointment.