Plaque just may be your mouth’s worst enemy. Plaque is filled of bacteria that eat away at the enamel of your teeth, causing damage you definitely don’t want to deal with.
There are two effective ways to prevent the buildup of plaque: good daily dental hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings.
But if bacteria has seemingly taken over your mouth, leaving your teeth and gums damaged, our staff at Advanced Dental Associates in San Antonio, TX can help. Dr. Steve Edwards, Dr. Craig Long, Dr. Robert Villarreal, Dr. Lauren Malitz, and Dr. Aimee Garcia can help determine if gum disease has taken over and what treatment options are best for you.
How can you tell if you might have gum disease? Continue reading to find out.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, known medically as periodontal disease, starts with the growth of bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t get the right treatment, you could end up losing teeth because of damage to the surrounding tissue.
Gum disease typically starts with gingivitis, which is the medical term for inflamed gums. Although not all gingivitis becomes periodontitis, gingivitis does usually happen first.
When you first develop gingivitis, bacteria in the form of plaque build up on your teeth, causing inflammation in your gums. That inflammation can cause your gums to bleed easily when you brush your teeth.
The good news is that despite the irritation and inflammation of your gums, if you only have gingivitis, no irreversible damage has happened yet.
If your gingivitis isn’t treated, it can worsen into periodontitis. If you have periodontitis, the inner layer of your gum and bone have pulled away from your teeth, creating spaces that can become infected. Your body’s immune system will fight that bacteria as it spreads. Plaque will continue to grow below your gumline.
That’s when things really start to get ugly. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque, as well as your body’s immune response, begin to break down the tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
As the disease gets worse, those spaces in your gums get deeper, causing more damage. If you get to this point, an unfortunate amount of your gum tissue and bone are destroyed, causing your teeth to loosen. That’s when tooth loss happens.
Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
Causes Of Gum Disease
Plaque caused by a lack of dental hygiene is the main cause of gum disease. The following factors also contribute to gum disease:
- Hormonal changes
Changes in your hormones that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and monthly menstruation can make your gums more sensitive. It’s then easier for gum disease to occur.
Cancer and HIV weaken your immune system. Diabetes makes patients more susceptible to gum disease and cavities because of the body’s inability to use blood sugar.
Some medications cause your mouth to produce less saliva. Saliva helps protect your teeth and gums. Some medications can also cause gum tissue to grow abnormally.
Smoking can interfere with gum tissue’s ability to repair itself.
- Poor oral hygiene
Poor habits like not brushing and flossing regularly can make it easier for gingivitis to occur.
- Family history of gum disease
A family history of gum disease puts you at higher risk for developing the condition.
Treating Gum Disease
Fortunately, gingivitis is generally easily treatable. Brushing and flossing your teeth correctly will help prevent plaque buildup and potentially reverse the effects of gingivitis.
If your gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, we can still treat your symptoms in as little as one appointment. We will use special tools to remove the plaque buildup from below your gumline.
If you have advanced periodontal disease, you’ve come to the right place. Our office in San Antonio, TX uses LANAP® laser treatment instead of traditional gum surgery. The laser targets only the tissue that has been damaged. LANAP® is the only laser treatment approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced periodontal disease.
If your tooth has already decayed, you also may need a filling. We use tooth-colored fillings made of a mixture of glass and plastic, so it’s strong yet flexible and matches your tooth.
We Can Help Treat And Prevent Gum Disease
Don’t delay treatment any longer. We want to help reverse the damage that has already been done and prevent future damage from occurring. Call Advanced Dental Associates at (210) 819-5233 to make an appointment or visit us online.