Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is a very common but serious condition. It can affect your long-term oral health if left untreated. Make sure that you’re staying up to date with your dentist on everything you can do to prevent periodontal disease.

Your best defense against gum disease is early detection and treatment.

Gum disease is a condition that progresses through several stages of increasing severity. The earliest stage is gingivitis, a condition defined largely by bad breath and sore gums. Symptoms and complications become much more serious later on, making early detection and treatment essential.

The earliest stages of periodontal disease may show no symptoms at all. This is why it’s important to keep up with periodontitis screenings with your dentist. Every time you come in for a routine dental evaluation and cleaning, your dentist will check for key signs of periodontal disease.

Identifying the condition soon after it develops makes it possible to implement an early intervention. These treatments are generally less invasive and also provide more consistent results than interventions for more severe gum disease. Your comfort and long-term oral health outcome are greatly improved when you can catch this disease early.

Who is at risk of developing gum disease?

Gum disease is a condition that affects individuals from all backgrounds. It’s among the most widespread dental issues. However, there are a few key risk factors, including age, lifestyle, and other medical conditions, that can indicate who is more likely to face gum disease.

Age is a strong risk factor for gum disease. Part of this is due to higher rates of dry mouth in the elderly. When saliva production is reduced, bacteria can feed on food residue in the mouth and grow large populations.

Your lifestyle habits also play a major role. Poor nutrition and poor oral hygiene habits allow bacteria to grow in larger numbers. Tobacco use is also linked to an increased risk for periodontal disease.

A variety of diseases and conditions have been linked to an increased risk of gum disease. Individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis are all at higher risk for developing gum disease than the general population.

What are the risks of untreated gum disease?

Gum disease carries a wide range of potential consequences when left untreated. As the condition progresses, complications escalate from bad breath to receding gums and lost teeth.

In the early stages, gum disease has very little impact. In fact, it’s been called “the silent killer” due to how unnoticeable early symptoms can be. You’ll likely experience bad breath and some potential soreness and swelling of the gums. You might see bleeding when brushing and flossing.

However, the impact of gum disease quickly becomes more serious. The gums can draw away from the teeth and recede, which impacts the appearance of your smile and increases the rate at which the condition progresses. It’s at this point that more serious interventions are required to stop the progression.

If the condition continues to go untreated, the bacteria will begin to affect the bone surrounding your teeth. The affected teeth will start to become loose and eventually fall out. This process can continue to spread throughout your mouth, affecting multiple or even all of your teeth.

What Your Dentist Checks for During a Periodontal Evaluation

If you or your dentist have taken notice of any signs of periodontal disease, then a thorough periodontal checkup may be in order. Your dentist can check a few key areas to identify the presence and progression of gum disease.

First, they’ll ask about your experience, including whether your gums hurt or your teeth hurt and if you’ve been experiencing soreness, swelling, or bleeding. They’ll also ask some questions regarding oral hygiene habits, whether you use tobacco, and whether you have existing medical conditions.

Then, they’ll examine the gum line for signs of pockets forming, gum recession, bleeding when the gums are probed, inflammation, and other specific dental considerations.

They’ll also evaluate your current levels of plaque, which contribute to gum disease. They’ll check for related dental issues like cavities, periodontal lesions, and other problems. There will also be a range of additional considerations if you have dental implants or other tooth replacement appliances.

Take charge of your gum health!

If you’re concerned about periodontal disease, you can reach out to the best dentist in Plano, TX, at Millennium Dental for a comprehensive periodontal checkup.

We can evaluate your oral health and provide a wide range of treatment options. Book your appointment today to get started.