Protecting Your Gums for a Healthy Smile
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 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.
Fortunately, Dr. Nate Heffelfinger in Auburn has effective treatments for all stages of gum disease. We also feature DNA saliva testing, an innovative process that allows Dr. Heffelfinger to diagnose and treat gum disease with much greater precision.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
In its earliest stages, gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. 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
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that feed on plaque and tartar in your mouth. That’s why it’s so important to protect your smile by visiting Dr. Heffelfinger for regular checkups and brushing and flossing your teeth every day.
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. For example, with gum grafting, we’ll remove the damaged portion of your gums and replace it with healthy tissue.
Advanced Treatment With DNA Testing
DNA saliva testing is an exciting new technology that enables us to treat gum disease with much greater efficiency. 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 headstart 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.
Health Risks of Untreated Gum Disease
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
Frequently Asked Questions
Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection. These bacteria survive by consuming plaque, tartar, and debris in your mouth.
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.
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 American Dental Association recommends using a therapeutic mouthwash that has active ingredients to kill the bacteria that cause gum disease.
DNA saliva testing helps Dr. Heffelfinger treat gum disease more effectively by detecting the exact type of bacteria that’s causing your it. This dramatically enhances diagnosis and treatment planning.