I Won’t Take Periodontitis for $500, Alex

Periodontal Disease Your gums are tough hombres. They may look pink and soft like a wad of Double Bubble, but they are strong. Remember, their job, after all, is to be the bodyguard for the roots of your teeth.

But prevention is key with these pink workhorses. Treat your gums well and do the required home dental care and they will take care of your teeth. Treat them with indifference and you won’t like the future.

Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease, periodontitis if you want to get downright clinical. It involves infection of the gums that can end up with tooth loss and an extra spot in the next season of Duck Dynasty.

But gum disease is totally preventable. It all begins with dental plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque has lots of bacteria in it. Dental plaque is easy to remove with daily brushing and flossing. In fact, a good home dental hygiene program of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once a day is usually enough for most people to never have to deal with gum disease.

But if you treat home hygiene as a passing fancy, and if you throw in lifestyle choices such as smoking, plaque can have its way with your mouth. When plaque isn’t removed it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. Tartar can only be removed by Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress or one of our hygienists.

First comes gingivitis, then comes periodontitis

Now this isn’t like a disease where you wake up one day and there it is. With gum disease there will be plenty of signs it is coming. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. Irritated gums are not happy gums, and they become red and bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis.

You may have let things go, but at this point you can still reverse things with a professional cleaning from the team at Kalil & Kress and more diligent home care. But if you don’t opt for this route, the gum irritation worsens and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing pockets to form. These pockets hold all the bacteria from the plaque and that bacteria begin to attack the roots of the teeth. You can see where this is leading — tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.

Now, a trip to our office will be necessary just to keep your teeth. Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress will need to do things such as gum planing and scaling. You may receive an antibiotic prescription if infection has taken hold. A root canal could be required to save a tooth or teeth.

And to think, all of this could have been prevented with simple brushing and flossing at home, combined with twice-yearly visits to Kalil & Kress for professional cleaning and exams. Call us at 603-880-7004 to make your next appointment.

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