Gum Disease Management in North Jacksonville
Gums that bleed easily, reddened gums around the teeth, tenderness to touch and brushing,persistent bad breath, receding gums, and teeth that appear longer than they once did are all signs of gum disease. The Center for Disease Control states that nearly half of Americans have gum disease. At North Jacksonville Complete Dentistry, we are aware of these facts and are dedicated to taking a stand against gum disease. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, we encourage you to read on or contact us at any time. Often it is only after you understand this disease that you understand the importance of treatment.
What is Gum Disease?
To simplify things, gum disease presents in two major categories. First, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. Generally a professional cleaning followed by a few changes in habits can lead to optimal oral health. Gingivitis often goes untreated and can progress to periodontitis.
To understand periodontitis, it is important to understand what causes gingivitis. Our mouths house a complex community of proteins, carbohydrates, and bacteria. Much of this is beneficial but much is not. Plaque is this community's soft buildup that occurs on tooth surfaces. When plaque is not properly removed, it begins to mineralize and harden. The body sees this as foreign and fights back. This is a losing battle. The result is an immune response that is gingivitis.
When left unchecked, this chronic immune response begins to target the bone that secures the teeth as well as the ligament that holds the tooth in the bone. The result is an irreversible loss of some of the jawbone.
Why "Management" and not "Treatment"?
The word management was not used accidentally. When we use the word "treat", it implies to most that we are eliminating the problem. Gum disease is not treated, it is managed. Often the immune system responds more aggressively each time it is exposed to an irritant. This means that regular exams and regular maintenance with your hygienist are crucial to prevent this loss of the jawbone structure.
How is Gum Disease Managed?
Gum disease management begins with an examination of the bone, gums, and teeth. Your dentist and hygienist will determine the severity and develop a treatment plan accordingly. Often the first step is a deep cleaning. This consists of a removal of the buildup which allows the body to begin healing. At a future visit, a re-evaluation of the tissues will occur. Often other therapies will be required such as a special laser to get down into deep pockets and eliminate bacteria.
The good news about gum disease is that when caught early, it can be managed and teeth and bone can be preserved. Dr. Johnson, Dr. Baxter, and our hygiene team will do our best to provide the necessary treatment and education to allow for optimal periodontal health for years to come!