Your oral health needs change as you get older, with the risk of gum (periodontal) disease especially rising for adults past the age of 35 and then again after 55. In fact, the majority of older adults have gum disease to some extent. This condition can have serious consequences for oral and overall health, which makes its prevention/maintenance a significant goal. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about gum disease in Belmont.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the infection and inflammation of the periodontal (gum) tissue, which exists to keep your teeth in place. This condition can develop for a few reasons, the most significant of which is poor oral hygiene. When plaque and bacteria are not routinely removed through brushing and flossing, they can infect the space between the teeth and the gums. These “periodontal pockets” will grow larger with time, eventually eating away at the foundation your teeth need to stay secure. Tooth loss is almost certain in cases of untreated gum disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Watch out for these warning signs of gum disease to ensure that you receive treatment sooner rather than later. They include:
- Bleeding, red, inflamed gums (the #1 symptom of gum disease)
- Chronic bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose/shifting teeth (in the later stages of gum disease)
How Is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
Your dental hygienist, dentist, or periodontist can diagnose gum disease. The first intervention usually occurs after the condition is detected during a checkup and cleaning. Often, the hygienist will measure the depth of the periodontal pockets which indicate the disease. Anything 5 mm or deeper will require treatment from the dentist or periodontist.
What Is the Treatment for Gum Disease?
The appropriate treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of the condition. In the beginning stages (known as gingivitis), improved brushing and flossing habits along with a couple extra visits to the dentist may be enough to stop the inflammation from advancing. At or beyond the 5 mm pocket mark, scaling and root planing (SRP) will often be recommended. Special tools are used to clean above and below the gum line. The root’s surface is smoothed out to prevent reinfection. Several SRP treatments may be necessary for effective management.
In cases where SRP would not be sufficient, surgical intervention may be necessary to manage infection, regenerate lost bone and prevent tooth loss. Whatever the appropriate treatment for you is, don’t wait to get started. Gum disease management is critical for your lasting health!
Meet the Periodontist
Dr. Alexander Schrott is the periodontist Belmont and surrounding towns such as Cambridge, Lexington, Arlington, Watertown and Boston trust for services related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gum disease. If you have noticed the warning signs of gum disease and are seeking a professional opinion or treatment, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Schrott’s team by phone at 617-870-0460.