Preventing Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

Preventing Gum Disease and Tooth Loss By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on January 26, 2017

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. This disease can develop when a patient lacks good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing can remove the disease-causing bacteria from the teeth and gums. When these practices are sporadic or non-existent, the gums can become inflamed and infected. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. Dr. Danny O’Keefe can help patients understand the risks of gum disease and tooth loss during their dental exams at our Jackson, MS office. In the event that tooth loss does occur, he offers a variety of restorative dentistry treatments to replace the missing tooth.

Progression of Gum Disease

Stage 1: Gingivitis

This initial stage of gum disease simply begins with inflammation. The gums may appear red rather than pink. You may also notice some tenderness and bleeding when you brush or floss. During this stage, there is no bone loss. Patients who seek treatment during this phase can easily get the disease under control to prevent its progression.

Stage 2: Early Periodontitis

Periodontitis, another name for periodontal or gum disease, is similar to gingivitis. The primary difference, however, is that bone loss begins to take place during this stage. The bone and periodontal ligaments hold your teeth in place. When these tissues begin to deteriorate, you are at a greater risk of tooth loss.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis

If gum disease continues untreated, inflammation and discomfort will increase. Bone loss will also continue, as deep pockets begin to form between your teeth and gums. These pockets are the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria continue to increase, worsening the inflammation and tissue loss in these areas.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis

When allowed to advance, severe bone loss occurs. The gums actually begin to recede, exposing the sensitive and vulnerable tooth roots. As the infection spreads, the teeth can begin to feel loose in their sockets. Eventually, the teeth may begin to fall out or require extraction.

Preventing Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

The best way to prevent gum disease and potential tooth loss is to properly care for your teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once per day. It also means scheduling and attending regular dental cleanings and exams. Biannual cleanings can remove the plaque that builds up in places your toothbrush cannot reach. Regular exams allow Dr. O’Keefe to monitor your dental and periodontal health. He can check for early signs of gum disease and provide you with the tools you need to keep the disease from progressing.

Treatments for Gum Disease

If gum disease advances beyond the initial stage, Dr. O’Keefe may recommend a deep cleaning. Known as scaling and root planing, this treatment eliminates deposits of bacteria from the gums and pockets that have formed. In more severe cases, gingival tissue grafts may be needed to conceal the tooth roots after gum recession has occurred.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have noticed any changes in your gum health, such as redness or bleeding, contact us to schedule an appointment.