When people see red in their gum tissue or notice a little sensitivity, they tend to think it’s not that big of a deal and will go away on its own. While early stages of gum disease can be managed at home with improved oral hygiene, more advanced stages can only be treated by a dental professional, such as a periodontist. Without dedicated care, gum disease can actually lead to tooth loss, which directly impacts facial shape. To learn more about this connection, keep reading this post from a board-certified periodontist!
How Gum Disease Progresses
As oral bacteria grows and develops, you may find it difficult to notice at first. That’s because the symptoms that accompany the early stages of gum disease are not particularly easy to spot. With that said, there are certain symptoms that can be more noticeable, such as yellowing of the teeth, gums that appear red or feel tender to the touch, and gum recession (which is characterized by the gums appearing to be pulling away).
Once gum disease reaches past the gingivitis stage, it can quickly turn into periodontitis. This condition is more severe and can develop into early, moderate, and advanced stages. Periodontitis can only be treated by a professional, ideally a periodontist (which specializes in the treatment of gum disease).
Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Gum disease is considered the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. After the plaque produced by the bacteria turns into tartar, bacteria is able to access deeper areas of the jaw where the ligaments attach the teeth to the bone. When moderate periodontitis has developed, up to 50% of tooth stability can be lost. This is what causes teeth to become loose. During advanced stages, teeth can begin to fall out entirely. Once teeth are lost, changes in facial shape can start to take place.
Tooth Loss’s Effects on Facial Shape
Teeth are responsible for stimulating the jawbone. When teeth aren’t present, the bone tissue begins to deteriorate since it lacks that simulation it needs to maintain its natural shape. As a result, many side effects can occur, including:
- Hollowing of the cheeks
- Shortened face height
- Facial sagging
- Increased wrinkles
- Thinner lips
Of course, avoiding tooth loss all starts with taking the steps to prevent gum disease in the first place. With a few simple tips, including daily brushing and flossing as well as routine dental checkups, you can prevent tooth loss almost entirely, especially at a young age.
However, if you believe you may have any stage of gum disease, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a periodontist today!
About the Author
Dr. Carnow’s holds advanced training in periodontics and is board-certified, ensuring his patients receive the best care possible for all severities of gum disease. His expertise in the field gives patients confidence in their treatments, whether it’s for mild or severe levels of periodontitis. To schedule an appointment, you can contact him through his website.