Periodontal, or gum, disease is evidenced by bad breath that won’t go away, bleeding when you brush or floss, having loose teeth and tender or swollen gums. Being accurately diagnosed and treated for periodontal disease is the first step in getting your oral health on track.
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What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection in the gums and bone surrounding teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria getting deep under your gum tissue to the point that it is impossible to completely clean them out at home. Over time periodontal disease leads to destruction of the bone around your teeth which can cause teeth to become loose and fall out.
How do I know if I have periodontal disease?
Some symptoms of periodontal disease that you may notice at home are red, swollen, bleeding or tender gums, tooth sensitivity, gums that are receding away from your teeth, bad breath and loose or shifting teeth.
At your first visit your hygienist and doctor will perform a gum exam where they measure the depth of gum tissue around your teeth and look for signs of infection or inflammation. The results of this exam will allow them to diagnose the state of your periodontal tissues and determine if you have periodontal disease.
Does periodontal disease have other health consequences?
Research has shown that having periodontal disease that is untreated increases your risk for many other health consequences, including being:
• 93% more likely to be at high risk for diabetes • 62% increased risk for pancreatic cancer • 24-35% more likely to develop plaque blockages in your heart • 4.5 times more likely to have a stroke • 2.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
Can periodontal disease be cured?
Periodontal disease is similar to other chronic diseases, like diabetes, in that it can never be cured. However, with regular visits to your dentist periodontal disease can be treated and stabilized allowing you to maintain health teeth and gums for throughout your lifetime.
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My Friend’s Dentist, based in Wilmington North Carolina, is an award-winning Wilmington dental practice that provides general, cosmetic and speciality dental services including implants and dental sleep medicine to patients of all ages. Widely recognized for its office design and patient friendly approach to dental care, My Friend’s dentist publishes its procedure prices, offers savings through its dental membership plan and focuses on a collaborative approach to prioritizing care with patients.