Dental health isn’t limited to just the teeth. Taking care of your gums is essential as well. Unfortunately, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common problem affecting many adults, even those who take good care of their teeth. Below, dentists Drs. John Lynch, Sheila Lynch, and Frances Lynch of Lynch Dental Center in Chicago's Loop discusses periodontal disease, its symptoms, and its treatments.
Basic information about periodontal disease
There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less invasive and more common form, affecting as many as 65 million American adults. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gingivitis, usually affecting people who have gone many years without visiting their dentist in The Loop. Those who use tobacco are at particular risk for developing periodontitis. Both forms of periodontal disease are caused by bacteria-laden acid breaking down the gum tissue; this is the same process that causes decay to develop on the teeth. Untreated gingivitis will inevitably progress into periodontitis, which leads to bone and tooth loss and has been linked to systemic problems like heart disease and stroke.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
The first sign that you have gingivitis is often the presence of blood during brushing or flossing. This is due to inflammation and may also present as swollen, reddened gum tissue. As periodontal disease progresses, the gums may recede, or shrink, which can cause tooth sensitivity due to exposure of the roots. Bad breath and tooth loss may accompany advanced periodontitis. Any of these signs warrant a visit to your dentist in Chicago's Loop for an evaluation.
Treatment of periodontal disease
The good news is that if caught early, gingivitis is curable and often only requires a deep cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. This treatment, performed by our trained dental hygienists at Lynch Dental Center manually removes tartar buildup from the teeth and gums, allowing the tissue to heal. Medicated mouthwash or oral antibiotics may also be needed to help reduce the bacteria. More advanced periodontal disease often needs more invasive treatment, including gum surgery and skin or bone grafts. It’s important to know that all forms of gum disease are treatable and working with your dentist in The Loop will help to prevent any complications.
If you think you have periodontal disease in any form, contact Lynch Dental Center, located in both in The Loop in Chicago and in River Forest, IL, for an appointment with one of our dental team members today. It’s never too late to make good decisions about your dental health!