What Everyone Should Know About Gum Disease, Tooth Loss, and Dental Implants

Periodontal gum disease (usually simply referred to as gum disease) is an infection that attacks the gum tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. In adults worldwide, it is a SIGNIFICANT cause of tooth loss. It is caused through the formation of plaque – a film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. And good, regular brushing and flossing can help to minimize the formation of plaque.

The AAP (American Academy of Periodontology) reports that approximately three out of every four U.S. citizens have some sort of gum disease. The real problem, of course, is that gum disease is progressive. In its early stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis. In its most severe and advanced form, it is known as periodontitis.

Gum disease could be linked to many serious illnesses

The sad fact of the matter is that even though so many people suffer from gum disease in one extreme or another, only approximately 3% proactively seek help! This is crazy, particularly in light of recent research which has found that gum disease could be linked to several other nasty diseases, including the likes of some types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Periodontists are specifically trained to deal with gum disease

What people need to take on board is that periodontists are dentists who have been specifically trained to recognize and treat gum disease. If you lose a tooth to periodontitis, that tooth is lost and gone for all time. This is because periodontitis results in the erosion of the very bone into which the roots of your teeth are anchored.

Combating gum disease in time to replace lost teeth with dental implants

If gum disease is treated early enough, it can be stopped, and in some cases, reversed. This means that even if you lose teeth, you can still have dental implants fitted. If however, the periodontitis is too advanced, and the bone too eroded, it will not be substantial enough to take dental implants.

Periodontists are able to treat all types of periodontal disease, including the most severe. They can delivery various solutions in preventing ongoing or worsening periodontitis, including root planning, root surface debridement and, of course, scaling. Periodontists are also specially trained in a range of surgical procedures including the installation of dental implants.

Dealing with the aftermath of tooth loss

The aftermath of losing a tooth can be an extremely unpleasant experience. Depending on the site of the tooth loss, and the number of teeth affected, it can affect your looks AND your ability to eat.

Before modern dental implants, the only option victims of gun disease and tooth loss had, was to have dentures fitted. Whilst dentures overcome the cosmetic problems of tooth loss, many people find them uncomfortable and experience reduced eating capability, like not being able to bite into a fresh apple for instance (despite what the adverts say).

The success rates of dental implants

Dental implants, on the other hand, have a far higher success rate; in fact, studies show that they are 98% successful in offering a replacement for lost teeth. Research carried out by the APP concluded that 70% of dental implant patients were extremely satisfied with the results of having implants fitted.

An ordinary dentist is not a Periodontist

What you need to be aware of is that ordinary dentists are not the same as periodontists. A fully qualified periodontist will have had at least three years of special training (in many cases more) at a dental college that deals SPECIFICALLY with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of gum or periodontal disease.

When to see a Periodontist

If you suspect you have the onset of gum disease, you should make an appointment with a local Periodontist, and NOT an ordinary dentist. The early signs of gum disease include:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Gums that are tender or that bleed.
  • Gums that are painful when chewing
  • Having sensitive teeth.
  • Receding gums or when your teeth appear longer

If you have any of these symptoms, see a Periodontist at the earliest opportunity. Remember, even if you lose a tooth to periodontitis, providing the disease is not too far advanced, a Periodontist can offer to fit dental implants, the best and MOST successful answer to tooth loss.

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