A family dentist might tell you to brush your teeth often to keep cavities away. The mouth has many microorganisms, which is why it is so important to use toothpaste regularly. These might feed on bits of food particles left in the mouth, leading to oral infections. You could have gum disease or tooth decay…
How Often Should I Have my Gums Checked by my Family Dentist?
Most experts recommend that people should visit the family dentist two times a year. The dentist performs an overall exam of the gums, teeth, and mouth to see if there are any signs of decay, gum disease, or other issues. It is important to have a dental professional check the gums because gum disease can lead to serious issues, and it is beneficial to catch the problem before it gets too bad.
Signs of gum disease
Another name for gum disease is periodontal disease, and it is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Not only is it common, but it is also preventable. There are stages of the condition that range from mild to serious, and the goal of a checkup by your family dentist is to catch the problem in the early phases so it can be reversed.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Plaque and tartar begin to irritate the gums, causing inflammation and forming a pocket between the gum and tooth. Some people may not notice any symptoms during this stage, but some common signs include:
- Dark red gums
- Swollen and tender gums
- Bad breath
- Frequent bleeding when flossing or brushing
- Receding gums
If gum disease is caught at this stage, it is possible to fully reverse it with proper oral hygiene.
During this phase, the infection begins to spread to the bones that support the teeth. Bacteria penetrate between the gums and teeth, leading to deeper pockets. Symptoms are similar to gingivitis; however, they are a little more severe. There may also be slight bone loss.
At this level, the infection continues to worsen, affecting not only supporting bone but also the surrounding connective tissues. The teeth roots become exposed, resulting in increased sensitivity and decay. There are gum abscesses, a major gum recession, and moderate bone loss. This loss of bone may also begin to loosen the teeth. This stage is not reversible, but surgical treatment can prevent it from progressing to the next phase in which loss of teeth is inevitable.
If gum disease is not discovered or treated, the infection reaches its final stage. The bone loss is so severe that the affected teeth eventually fall out or need to be extracted to clear out the infection. This advanced stage does not have a good prognosis, and widespread gum surgery, as well as bone grafting, is usually necessary.
Visiting a family dentist to check the health of the gums is crucial to prevent severe periodontal disease. Because the early stages do not always exhibit obvious symptoms, the dentist will be able to see the issue during a thorough gum examination. Although twice a year is usually adequate for dental exams, people in higher-risk groups may want to schedule more frequent appointments. These conditions include smoking, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, certain medical infections, and conditions that decrease immunity.
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