Protecting Your Gums for a Healthy Smile
Being able to smile and laugh confidently with your favorite people is something we all deserve. The health of your gums plays a major role in the state of your smile, which is why taking care of them is essential. Your gums not only keep your teeth in place but also provide a sealed barrier against bacteria. When your gum health becomes compromised by gum disease, your teeth, oral health, and overall wellness are in jeopardy.
That is why our Auburn dentist, Dr. Heffelfinger, provides top-quality periodontal care to treat gum disease and repair the integrity of your gums. The dedicated team at Smiles for Life can help Indiana patients in the Waterloo, Garrett, Butler, and surrounding areas whether they’re in need of a deep cleaning or full gum repair.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
Gum disease (periodontal disease) results from poor dental hygiene and is an infection of the gums. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease. This is a serious infection that can wreak havoc on your smile, eventually resulting in the loss of teeth.
In addition to damaging your smile, untreated gum disease can also have a negative impact on your overall health. According to the National Institute of Health, “there is abundant ongoing research that suggests a correlative relationship between periodontal disease and other whole-body ailments.” This includes:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Premature birth
Gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage but without intervention, the bacteria infection can cause permanent damage to your gums, teeth, and overall wellness.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The earliest stage of gum disease commonly known as gingivitis is completely reversible however if the infection continues to develop, it can advance to the periodontitis stage. Common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Red, swollen, and sensitive gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Teeth pull away from gums
- Bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Teeth begin to fall out
When bacteria feed on sugars, carbs, and leftover debris in your mouth, it can grow and develop into a film-like substance called plaque. If not removed, it will harden into tartar which can only be removed by specialized dental tools. That’s why it’s so important to protect your smile by visiting Dr. Heffelfinger for regular checkups in combination with rinsing after meals, brushing twice a day, and flossing before bed every day.
If you noticed any of the above signs, we strongly recommend you schedule an appointment at our Auburn office. Smiles for Life offer effective treatments for all stages of gum disease.
Treatment for Gum Disease
If we catch your gum disease early, it can often be managed with simple measures such as efficient dental hygiene practices. There are also a number of effective treatments for more advanced cases.
The bacterial infection that causes gum disease can often be remedied with antibiotics. Another common treatment for gum disease is called scaling and root planing. Also referred to as deep cleaning, this treatment involves removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line and then smoothing out the surfaces of your roots to protect against future infection.
There are also surgical treatments for gum disease used for more advanced cases. For example, with gum grafting, we’ll remove the damaged portion of the gums and replace it with healthy tissue.
We also feature DNA saliva testing, an innovative process that allows Dr. Heffelfinger to diagnose and treat gum disease with much greater precision.
Advanced Treatment With DNA Testing
DNA saliva testing is an exciting new technology that enables us to treat gum disease with much greater efficiency. This testing helps Dr. Heffelfinger treat gum disease more effectively by detecting the exact type of bacteria that’s causing your gum disease. This dramatically enhances diagnosis and treatment planning.
All you have to do is swish saline solution around in your mouth and spit into a tube. Then we’ll get a lab report that provides essential information about your condition.
DNA saliva testing will tell us if you’re susceptible to gum disease before any symptoms are apparent. That way, we can get a head start on protecting your smile. DNA testing can also identify the particular strain of bacteria that’s causing your gum disease, helping us select the most effective antibiotics to treat it.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are two different stages of gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include pain, redness, and swelling of the gums. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and periodontitis is a more advanced form of the infection. As periodontitis progresses, patients can experience receding gums, loose teeth, persistent halitosis (bad breath, changes in their bite and even tooth loss.
If left untreated, gum disease will eventually cause pain, bleeding, bad breath, and loose teeth. It can even result in the loss of teeth. The problems don’t stop there. Untreated oral problems like gum disease can lead to a host of conditions that extend beyond your mouth such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.