If you have found your smile becoming more sensitive recently, you should take it seriously because it could be a warning sign of periodontal disease. Tender, swollen, infected gums can wreak havoc on your smile and, if left unchecked, can force the need for extensive dental reconstruction. Dr. Robert Harrell and his staff at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne want you to be aware of the symptoms of periodontal disease so that you can avoid it altogether.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports your teeth. It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down.

Warning Signs

  • Pain in the mouth
  • Gums bleed when brushing
  • Spaces develop between teeth
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Receding gums (exposing the bottom of your teeth)
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Sores develop

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use
  • Systemic diseases
  • Use of certain types of medicine
  • Bridges that no longer fit
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral cancer Continue reading at Colgate
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Notice how the gum separates from the tooth as the disease progresses

Did You Know?

Oral Health May Affect Your Whole Body

When bacteria expand in the pockets of the gums, gingivitis results, triggering redness and inflammation, a warning sign for possible progression to periodontitis and the destruction of gum tissue. If periodontitis develops, some oral bacteria may enter the blood stream and, along with the potent chemicals they release and the body’s own immune response, circulate throughout the body. This event may contribute to processes that may compromise your overall health.4

A Pocket? A space that forms between the teeth and gums.

For example, not only can periodontal diseases cause bad breath and tooth loss, but they may contribute to a variety of serious life threatening systemic conditions including:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • diabetes

Researchers are now investigating the relationship between periodontitis and chronic systemic diseases. More details at Colgate

Regular Cleanings and Check-ups Made Simple

Dr. Harrell understands how tempting it can be to forego your regular check-ups if the potential for pain or discomfort exists, or if you experience general dental anxiety. Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne has a variety of solutions to ease your concerns, ranging from using the most advanced tools and technology all the way to offering full sedation dentistry.

The good news is that once the bacteria is removed and proper brushing and flossing is vigilantly applied, there should be noticeable improvement and less care required at the next appointment.

The experts at WebMD have the following to say about periodontal disease:

Mouthwash is a big help in treating the disease. Make sure you use one that’s labeled as antigingivitis, antibacterial, or antiseptic. If you can’t remember which kind to buy, ask a pharmacist for help.

If it’s been 6 months since you last saw the dentist, set up a cleaning to remove tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth. Ask your dentist about the proper way to brush — bearing down too hard or missing spots can lead to gingivitis. After a cleaning, your gums should get better within a week or so as long as you brush twice a day, and floss and rinse once a day. Additional info at WebMD

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Communication Is Essential

Just as you discuss your health concerns and seek care solutions from your regular family physician, it is equally important to communicate with your dentist. Dr. Harrell and his skilled staff are better able to address your smile issues and ease your anxiety when you communicate openly. Say how your teeth and gums are feeling, share what troubles you about your smile and mention any cosmetic procedures you may be interested in. We want you to be an active participant in your oral care.

Remember, periodontal disease is not something to ignore. If you suspect you may be in the early stages of gingivitis, now is the time to get your smile checked. Call Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to schedule your complete dental check-up and cleaning. We look forward to hearing from you.