Question: Is tooth loss a natural part of aging?
FACT: With good oral hygiene and regular professional care, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. However, if left untreated, periodontal (gum) disease can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal Disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults 35 and over.
Question: Are bleeding gums normal?
FACT: Bleeding gums are one of nine warning signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time you washed them, you would know something is wrong. Other signs of gum disease include: red, swollen or tender gums; sores in your mouth; gums that have pulled away from the teeth; persistent bad breath; pus between the teeth and gums (causing bad breath); loose or separating teeth; a change in the way the teeth fit together; and a change in the fit of partial dentures.
Question: If gum disease is easy to identify, even in its early stages, wouldn't my dentist would tell me if I had it?
FACT: Millions of people don't know they have this serious infection that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. You should always get involved in your dental care, so that problems are detected in the early stages. You should inform your dentist if any signs of gum disease are present; or if any changes in your overall health or medications occurred in between visits. Most importantly, you should ask your dentist about your periodontal health and what method was used to evaluate its condition. This level of participation enables you to identify subtle changes that may occur in the oral cavity and work in a team approach with your dentist to catch the disease at an early stage.
Question: Can Gingivitis lead to periodontal disease?
FACT: If untreated, gingivitis can advance to Periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow beneath the gum line. The toxins that are produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. This in turn stimulates a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. The gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Because this destructive process has very mild symptoms, many individuals don't realize how serious their current condition is. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Question: Are all teeth cleanings are the same?
FACT: All teeth cleanings are not the same. Teeth cleanings provided by periodontal specialists can address specific needs to patients suffering from different stages of periodontal disease. Special care should be taken when cleaning near dental implants (special tools are needed), when gum pockets need to be reevaluated, and when deep cleanings below the gum line are performed. While non-surgical therapies such as regular cleanings and scaling can address many periodontal issues, they do have limitations. When non-surgical gum disease treatments do not achieve periodontal health, periodontal surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices. Taking an active role in your dental care and seeing a Periodontist for an evaluation should be just as important as your regular dental checkups.