With all of the recent research emerging about the correlation between gum disease and heart disease, more and more people are aware of the long-term dangers. We know there are ways to treat periodontal disease, but is it truly reversible? Or is it something you will have to live with for the rest of your life? If you have gum disease in the Lone Tree or Denver areas, our doctors at Metropolitan Dental Care can teach you how to achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Early Diagnosis is Key
Is gum disease reversible? The short answer is: it depends. Gingivitis is the first stage gum disease, and is the only phase that is truly reversible. This is because the infection and bacteria have not affected the underlying bone yet. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen, tender gums, which can be effectively treated with a routine dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene at home. Therefore, if you notice early signs and symptoms of gum disease, do not delay! Schedule an appointment with your dentist or periodontist immediately. By diagnosing the problem early, you can treat it before it worsens. If the infection does reach the jawbone, you will begin to experience irreversible damage and mobility.
I have periodontitis. Is it hopeless?
Not at all. While periodontitis is more severe than gingivitis, it is still treatable through various surgical and non-surgical procedures. However, although you will be able to eradicate the infection, you may not be able to regain the bone that was lost. Bone grafting procedures may be able to restructure the jawbone and stabilize loose teeth. However, in some cases, it is difficult to rebuild the jawbone to its original height and density. That is why early detection is always best.
Genetics Play a Significant Role
You brush and floss dutifully. You attend every single dental cleaning without fail. So why do you still suffer from gum disease? Unfortunately, your genetics play a substantial role in the development of the condition. Gingivitis and gum disease are caused by the bacteria found in plaque. Different people can react to the bacteria in different ways; some patients are simply more sensitive to the irritants. If you have family members who suffer from periodontal disease, your risk for developing the condition is much higher.
Once a Periodontal Patient, Always a Periodontal Patient?
Gum disease is treatable. However, patients who are predisposed to the condition will always need to be cognizant of their gum health. Most of the time, periodontal patients will require a little extra TLC when it comes to dental maintenance. Because oral bacteria repopulate every few months, routine dental cleanings are necessary to remove the irritants before they become unmanageable. What does this mean? Usually, those who are prone to gum disease require cleanings every three or four months. This is a time-tested and effective way to prevent further issues from developing in the future.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
If you have bleeding gums, it is a warning sign that something isn’t quite right. If you notice this, schedule a consultation with your dentist. To assess your bone levels, your dentist will measure the pockets around your teeth with a periodontal probe. This instrument measures six different points around each tooth to determine if pockets are present. Four-millimeter pockets indicate gingivitis, while pockets that are five millimeters and higher indicate periodontitis. After this evaluation, your dentist will be able to recommend a treatment to eliminate the infection and improve your oral health.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are experiencing signs of gingivitis or gum disease, the solution may be easier than you think. The sooner the problem is identified, the less invasive your treatment will be. To schedule an appointment with our Denver or Lone Tree dentists, contact us online or call 303.534.2626.