Gum Disease Treatment
Unfortunately gum disease will strike most people at some point in their life. Regular dental cleanings (at least twice a year) as well as careful brushing and flossing are absolutely essential in delaying the onset and severity of the disease. With poor oral hygiene and sporadic professional cleanings, onset of gum disease is almost guaranteed.
A quick overview of gum disease: Dental plaque is the film which forms naturally on teeth as a result of food debris accumulation and bacterial colonization. Initially plaque is easily removed; within a week it starts to harden into tartar, which is impossible to remove with a toothbrush or floss. Tartar buildup can be reduced through good oral hygiene, but not eliminated; there are too many inaccessible areas between the teeth and gums. Tartar is full of bacteria. If not professionally removed on a regular basis the bacteria spreads to the bone supporting the teeth, causing it to resorb. The teeth eventually loosen, become infected, and need extraction.
Dental decay (cavities) typically affects a few teeth; gum disease affects all of them. Gum disease, not tooth decay, is thus responsible for your parents/grandparents dentures.
Fortunately, the process of infecting the underlying bone takes several years; professional cleanings every six months are essential in delaying the onset of the disease. Unfortunately, by age 65, there is a 93% chance that gum disease will establish itself to some degree, despite excellent oral hygiene and regular cleanings. Fortunately, with early diagnosis, gum disease is almost 100% treatable; chances of significant tooth loss is almost 0% if recommended treatment is followed.
Treatment consists of minor surgical intervention, and is not difficult of painful. You can generally resume normal activities immediately.