Did you know that more than 64 million American adults currently have periodontitis (the advanced form of periodontal disease)? If you are part of this statistic, you may be wondering how important it is to treat your condition. Does it really matter if you delay treatment or put it off altogether?
The answer is yes, it does matter. Although the initial symptoms of gum disease (also known as gingivitis) may seem more annoying than dangerous, the condition can cause irreversible damage after progressing to periodontitis. Here is some of the long-term damage periodontal disease can cause if it is not treated by a skilled periodontist.
When gum disease is left untreated, the bacteria infecting the gums spread beyond the gum line to the bone tissue surrounding your teeth. This includes the jaw bone and all connective tissue in the area. Bone loss can lead to changes in the structure of your face and can alter the way your teeth fit together.
In addition to eating away at the jawbone, bacteria from infected gums can eat away at the connective tissue around the teeth and can cause them to fall out. If your teeth do fall out and you have poor jaw bone density, you may need to receive bone grafts before you can be considered for tooth replacement procedures like dental implants.
As bacteria eat away at your gum tissue, your gum line will eventually start to recede. Gum recession is associated with increased oral discomfort, tooth sensitivity, and loose teeth. It can also negatively affect your appearance.
In addition to the problems gum disease can cause to your oral health, it’s important to understand how it can damage your overall health as well. Studies show a correlation between untreated periodontal disease and stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and many other serious conditions.
If you want to enjoy good oral and overall health, it’s important to treat your gum disease symptoms immediately. To schedule an appointment with periodontist Dr. Keith Chertok, call our Berkeley, CA practice today.