Why is Care of Your Gums So Important?

Occasionally we have patients who come in with some cavities along with gum disease. They are eager to address the cavities but want to ignore the gum problems. Why are healthy gums so important?

When gums are unhealthy the gum tissue develops inflammation which makes the gums red and tender, known as gingivitis. They bleed easily. And the bacteria causing this inflammation can get into your blood system and adversely affect your heart.

The bacteria can also cause a gradual lessening of the bone between and next to the teeth, known as periodontal disease. This is a very bad situation because the bacteria are more hidden and the loss of bone accelerates causing tooth loosening and then tooth loss. This is not good.

Another problem with the plaque, the technical name for the bacteria that accumulate around your teeth, is that it contributes to decay. Nobody wants cavities!

I will give a quick overview of the levels of gum disease and treatment. People who are relatively healthy and brush and floss their teeth daily just need a dental cleaning, or prophylaxis (technical term). When patients get larger pockets, which means that some bone loss has started, they would need a deep scaling a root planing procedure (deep cleaning).   This step usually needs anesthetic to get to the deep areas and clean them out thoroughly. The next step involves periodontal surgery, usually when the pockets have gotten even deeper. With this procedure, the bone may need to be recontoured or some bone added to the areas where bone has been lost. This level is much more of a big deal, but when the condition gets this bad, extreme measures may need to be taken to save your teeth.

 

These are the reasons why the dentists address gum disease before taking care of fillings unless a painful emergency exists.

 

The moral of this story is to take care of your gums- and if you don’t know how, call our office.