Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease refers to the bacterial infection of the gum tissue. This is the result of the same bacteria responsible for bad breath and tooth decay. It can lead to plenty of problems with your gumline, but it can also lead to tooth loss if you aren't careful.
Dr. Victor R. Siegel has helped countless people in and around Rockville deal with gum disease at different stages thanks to advanced restoroative and general dentistry treatments. Let's take a moment to look at gum disease and how it can cause missing teeth.
The Stages of Gum Disease
There are three stages of gum disease, each one more serious than the next. These are as follows:
- Advanced periodontitis
In early stages of gum disease, the primary issues to deal with are bleeding gums, irritated gums, and discolored gums. In later stages of the condition, more serious problems will affect your overall periodontal health.
Gum recession occurs in later stages of gum disease and involves the exposure of more of a tooth's root structure. When the gum tissue peels back like this, it can lead to tooth decay below the gumline, loose teeth, and more serious health problems as well. As the gum recession gets worse, teeth may fall out since there is not enough tissue to help maintain the proper position or hold.
As the gum tissue becomes compromised by the infection, it's also likely that people will experience issues with tooth misalignment. Loose teeth can shift position gradually, resulting in tooth misalignment and eventual tooth loss. Even if the teeth do not fall out, changes in tooth position can result in serious issues with total dental wellness, causing cosmetic problems as well as issues with dental health.
Links Between Gum Disease, Smoking, and Tooth Loss
A number of studies have noted a link between smoking and gum disease. This makes sense since smokers are more susceptible to infection than non-smokers. In turn, smokers also demonstrate a greater likelihood of tooth loss, with some studies suggesting that smokers are twice as likely to be missing teeth than non-smokers.
Treatments for Gum Disease
When treating gum disease, it's usually best to treat the problem sooner rather than later. The first step is getting the infection under control, which typically involves the use of antiseptic rinses or medications. Sometimes oral antibiotics are used to address infections in serious cases.
When it comes to addressing gum recession, the most common solution is gum grafting. This soft tissue augmentation surgery involves the placement of special grafts along the gumline to rebuild gum tissue.
Treatments for Tooth Loss
There are many treatments for tooth loss depending on the extent of the tooth loss. This includes dental bridges, partial dentures, or full dentures. Some patients may be good candidates for dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots that can support dental appliances. The best treatment for you can be determined during your visit.
Tips for Preventing of Gum Disease
If you would like to prevent gum disease, consider the following tips for good oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss your teeth once a night (ideally after every meal)
- Avoid the use of tobacco products
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Stay hydrated by drinking water
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Victor R. Siegel
For more information about gum disease, tooth loss, and other important aspects of tooth loss, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice. Dr. Victor R. Siegel and his team will help you have the healthiest smile possible.