Gum Disease Prevention and Treatment
Tooth loss is an unfortunate⏤but entirely preventable⏤side effect of untreated gum disease. With proper oral hygiene and regular checkups, Dr. Jerry Hancock can help you keep your gums healthy by preventing and treating gum disease at his Nashville, TN, practice. With today's technologies, it is easier than ever to avoid the symptoms and consequences of untreated periodontitis.
About Gum Disease
Gum disease is very common, affecting millions of adults and children. It is caused by the combination of saliva, bacteria, and food particles in the mouth, which combine to create sticky plaque along the gum line. If this plaque is not removed daily with proper brushing and flossing, it develops into a harder substance called tartar, or calculus. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist, making regularly scheduled dental cleanings even more important.
Gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease, causes inflammation of gum tissue. Gums may appear slightly red and swollen and may bleed during normal brushing. Improved hygiene and regular cleanings can remedy gingivitis, but if care is not taken, it can become worse and turn into periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a serious infection that can destroy gum tissue, causing gums to recede from the teeth. Increasingly deep pockets develop around the teeth, trapping plaque and bacteria. In response to infection, the body begins to break down bone and connective tissue, and without treatment, this condition can eventually lead to tooth loss.
It is important to note that gum disease can affect patients with dental implants, and it is important for implant patients to beware of the symptoms of gum disease. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Pronounced redness and swelling
- Gum tenderness and increased sensitivity to temperature
- Pain while chewing
- Receding gums or "longer" teeth
- Loose teeth
Several factors increase a patient's risk of serious gum disease. If your teeth are overcrowded, they are difficult to keep clean and thus more prone to plaque. Wisdom teeth are especially susceptible to gum disease for this reason.
In addition, smoking and certain medications can contribute to the development of periodontitis. Several health conditions are associated with gum disease, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Treatment by Dr. Hancock
Dr. Hancock and his team provide periodontal cleanings and treatment for gum disease. In addition to scaling and root planing (cleaning below the gumline), Dr. Hancock can provide a prescription antibiotic to treat infection and kill bacteria in gum pockets. He can also perform open flap surgery to remove damaging toxins below the gum line and can repair bone with bone grafting, if needed.
With today's technologies, it is easier than ever to avoid the symptoms and consequences of untreated periodontitis.
Once your gum disease has been managed, continuing maintenance is very important. If you have a history of gum disease, more frequent dental cleanings are necessary.
Prevent Gum Disease by Scheduling an Appointment
If you believe you may have gum disease, the best thing to do is schedule a dental appointment immediately. Dr. Hancock makes your comfort a priority and offers sedation dentistry options for interested patients. Please call our office at (615) 383-0132 or contact our office online today.
“The staff is super friendly and efficient, and I always walk out of their office with a smile…a much brighter one!” —Kate