Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson, your family and general dentists in St. Louis, MO, ensure that both your teeth and your gums stay healthy. Unfortunately, they find that gum disease threatens the smiles of both young and old. Gum disease? Do you know much about it? Do you have it? How is it treated? Find the answers to these important questions here.
What is gum disease?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it's a condition which threatens both the oral and the general health of nearly half the American adult population. Not only does this infection harm soft oral tissues and underlying bone, it's also linked to systemic health problems.
Additionally, the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research says gum disease is today's most prevalent cause of tooth loss. As such, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson urge their patients to take good care of their teeth and gums through careful brushing and flossing, smoking cessation and consuming a nutritious diet. Routine exams and professional cleanings every six months are important, too, because these practices keep ahead of the plaque, tartar, and their associated bacteria.
The symptoms of gum disease
Sometimes, symptoms of periodontal problems are obvious to patients, and other times, people are surprised to learn they have gum disease when their dentist in St. Louis, MO, informs them. Symptoms can include:
- Gum swelling
- Bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Gum tenderness and recession
- Mobile teeth
- Changes in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
- Dental pain and sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure
- Exposed tooth roots
- Deep periodontal pockets
An in-office examination readily reveals this last symptom. Periodontal pockets are the normal spaces between your teeth and the collar-like gum tissue surrounding them. When this collar no longer fits tooth surfaces snugly and starts to pull away, pockets deepen. Your dentist or hygienist will measure and track your gum pocket depth as an accurate indicator of oral health.
What can be done
Peridontics involves diagnosing and treating gum disease. Milder forms of periodontal disease response well to better brushing and flossing techniques at home. More advanced problems may require tooth scaling and something called root planing in which the hygienist uses special instruments to debride exposed roots. She also instills antibiotics at selected sites to ensure gums heal and re-attach to teeth.
More advanced forms of periodontitis may need:
- Gum grafting, a specialized oral surgery, which uses the patient's own gums to cover exposed roots
- Laser gum surgery, which removes infected soft tissue and seals the gums without sutures or cutting
Better gums and better health
Have both when you keep ahead of gum disease. If you're exhibiting any worrisome symptoms, please contact our office in St. Louis, MO, right away for an appointment. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson can help you have your best smile. Call today at (314) 427-7400.