More than 80 percent of American adults suffer from some level of gum disease, and many people don’t even know it. If your gums are red, tender, swollen, or bleed when you brush your teeth, you may have gum disease.

Our dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists at Brighton Family Dental Group can help you overcome this serious condition. First, it’s important for you to know what gum disease is and how it develops.

When plaque and tartar build up at the gum line, they emit bacteria that irritate sensitive gum tissue. As a result, bacterial infection eats away at the bond between teeth and gums. The bacteria thrive in the dark, moist, and warm pockets formed at the gum line, and over time, these pockets grow deeper as infection spreads. Ultimately, gums recede to expose teeth roots, and teeth can loosen or fall out. Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss for American adults.

Unfortunately, gum disease can also lead to serious overall health problems, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The best prevention against gum disease is attending six month checkups and cleanings. At these routine dental appointments, we will evaluate your soft tissues and look for signs of disease. If we find gum disease in the mild to moderate stage, it may be treated in three steps. This process is usually referred to as a deep cleaning.

1.     Scaling: Removing tartar from below the gum line

2.     Root planing: Smoothing of teeth roots to eliminate areas where plaque tends to accumulate

3.     Antibiotic therapy: Topical application of antibiotics to fight bacterial infection

After deep cleaning, you will need to come in for frequent follow-up visits so that the dental hygienist can assess progress. Treatment success will be evident when periodontal pocket depth is reduced as gums reattach to teeth. Gum disease is a chronic infection, so once you’ve been diagnosed, treatment and maintenance is essential for enduring oral health.

If your gum disease is severe, you may need to see a specialist, and we have a wonderful periodontist on staff. Dr. Richard Kondrat is the periodontist at Brighton Family Dental Group, and he can perform advanced periodontal therapy in our Brighton, Massachusetts office.

Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat serve patients from Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and surrounding communities. If it’s time for your checkup or you notice symptoms that may indicate gum disease, call us today at (617) 562-5210 to schedule an appointment.