One of the most common oral health issues is gum disease. It’s also a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chronic periodontitis (advanced gum disease) affects almost half of adults over 30 in the U.S. If you have the early stage of gum disease (gingivitis), the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.
If you develop advanced periodontitis, you may need dental surgery:
- Periodontal pocket reduction: If gum tissue doesn’t fit snugly around the tooth and you can’t keep the deep pocket area clean, you may need periodontal pocket reduction. A periodontist will fold back the gum tissue, remove infectious bacteria, and smooth areas of damaged bone, allowing gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
- Gum grafts: Roots that are exposed because of gum recession are covered with tissue taken from your palate or another source. These grafts help reduce sensitivity, protect roots from decay, and prevent further gum recession and bone loss.
- Bone grafting: To help your body regrow bone and tissue, your periodontist will remove bacteria and place either natural or synthetic bone and tissue-stimulating proteins around the area where bone has been lost.
- Dental implants: If you must have teeth removed, you can be fitted with a dental implant. This is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
To keep gum disease and other oral issues at bay, it’s important to schedule a dental checkup at least twice a year. If you don’t have a dentist, you can find one at asurisdental.com/members/find-a-dentist.