What is Gum Disease?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and using a WaterPik helps get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with twice-daily brushing and using a WaterPik, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
However, when gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
What are some warning signs to look for?
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Research has shown that periodontal disease contributes to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, pancreatic cancer, prostate inflammation, and other life-threatening conditions. By addressing periodontal disease (gum disease), patients can reduce their risks of these problems, and have healthy teeth and gums for life.
How do I get rid of gum disease?
We are pleased to offer our patients a very successful leading-edge, non-invasive program combined with a diode laser where necessary, to greatly improve and/or cure gum disease. No surgery is required. The first step is to make an appointment for periodontal records. Because Dr. Munger has been an active member of a research group formed in the 1990's in Bethesda, Maryland to help eradicate periodontal disease, he is able to offer this extremely successful program to his patients.