According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47% of adults aged 30 years and older are affected by some form of gum disease. Along with tooth decay, gum disease is the biggest threat to your dental health. Dr. John H Ko, the talented dentist at John H Ko DDS in Pleasanton, California, is experienced in identifying and treating gum disease, including both prevention and addressing the problem if it ever develops. Call the offices today or book an appointment online to learn more and fight gum disease.
Gum disease occurs in two stages: gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease), both of which originate from plaque.
Gingivitis happens when too much plaque builds up on your teeth, typically from poor brushing and flossing. Bacteria in the plaque irritates your gums, causing inflammation and bleeding when you brush or floss.
Gingivitis can advance to periodontitis if left untreated. In periodontitis, your irritated gums begin to pull away from the plaque on your teeth and the tartar beneath the gumline. This leads to the formation of “pockets” between your teeth and gums that fill with debris and bacteria and eventually become infected.
As your body fights this infection, the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place begin to break down. As the tissue surrounding your teeth is destroyed, the teeth loosen and frequently fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults.
The symptoms of gum disease can sometimes develop “silently,” leaving many people to be unaware that they have it until the later stages. Nonetheless, some of the warning signs include:
While the symptoms of gum disease might not always be noticeable to you, John H Ko, DDS, can easily and effectively identify the development of the disease during an office visit and prevent it from progressing, making it incredibly important to get routine dental checkups.
When gum disease is still in the gingivitis stage, it can be reversed with changes to your oral hygiene, such as improved brushing and flossing and deep cleanings with Dr. Ko and his hygienist.
Less advanced stages of periodontitis typically respond to nonsurgical treatments, such as antibiotics. Dr. Ko might also suggest scaling and root planing, where he scrapes away (scales) the plaque and tartar above and below the gumline and smooths out (planes) rough spots on your tooth root, creating a clean surface for your gums to reattach to your teeth.
More advanced stages of periodontitis might require surgical intervention, such as bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and flap surgery, which reduces the size of the pockets in your gums.
The best way to fight gum disease is to prevent it from ever developing. Regular visits with Dr. Ko can help you in that endeavor. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.