The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) reports that approximately 70% of adults over the age of 64 suffer from some form of periodontal disease, or gum disease. Although the advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, the disease is highly controllable when detected and treated in time. Unfortunately, many patients neglect the signs, or are simply unaware of them, until the damage becomes unavoidable. To treat gum disease, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, will assess the extent of infection, then prescribe an appropriate course of treatment depending on the patient’s specific needs and condition.
Gum disease begins with excessive oral bacteria accumulating along the gum line in the form of sticky dental plaque. As the germs gather, they release toxins that irritate gums and cause them to recede (pull away) from teeth’s roots. Infectious oral bacteria can also cause unchecked inflammation, which exacerbates the damage to a patient’s gum tissue. Swelling, redness, and occasional bleeding of the gums indicate gum disease’s beginning stage, known as gingivitis. In most cases, gingivitis can be successfully reversed with a deep, thorough dental cleaning, improved dental hygiene, and diligent professional care. If the signs are ignored and gum disease develops, then reversing the disease may no longer be an option.
Managing Gum Disease
Although gum disease isn’t reversible once it fully develops, the infection is manageable with effective care and maintenance. Once Dr. Leibowitz thoroughly cleans underneath the gums to remove lingering bacteria, keeping the infection at bay requires excellent home dental hygiene, as well as routine exams to ensure that gum disease remains in check. Dr. Leibowitz may provide additional instructions for effective care on a case-by-case basis.
Addressing the Effects of Periodontitis
In worst-case scenarios of periodontitis—the most severe form of gum disease—the gums and jawbone can become so weak with disease that they can no longer support all of a patient’s teeth. When gum disease is ignored or neglected, periodontitis can claim a patient’s teeth by destroying the foundation that supports them. Some gum tissue may be beyond repair, and restoring a patient’s smile might require a gum graft to fortify the soft tissue. If one or more teeth are lost, Dr. Leibowitz may recommend one or more dental implants, which are prosthetic teeth root devices that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Once lost teeth are replaced, however, controlling gum disease remains essential to ensuring the success of your new replacement teeth.
About Dr. Leibowitz:
Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, a native New Yorker, has served patients and families from Astoria, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all surrounding communities since opening his dental practice in 1991. To schedule an appointment at our Astoria dentist’s office, contact us at (718) 728-8320 today.