Why Gum Disease Can Be Surprise Diagnosis

Posted on Sep 24, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Some patients are shocked to learn they’ve developed periodontal (gum) disease. However, the regularity of dental visits, condition of physical health, oral hygiene at home, and other factors can leave one individual more susceptible than other.

For example, if you only have once-a-year hygiene visits, rather than every six months, your dentist may surprise you with a diagnosis of periodontal disease. Keep in mind that it only takes 36 hours for oral bacteria to begin plaque formation.

Many factors can play a part in the rate of how one develops gum disease. Additionally, occasional mild changes in the condition of gum tissues are not always aggressively responded to depending on the individual and the judgement call by the examining dentist. Some females, for example, can have tender and red gums during their menstrual cycle. The ‘normal’ gum condition of patients who smoke can vary from one to another.

Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your oral health. Research has shown that the inflammation of gum disease can have adverse reactions elsewhere in the body. It has been linked to coronary artery disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems. Like many diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal disease begins silently and without obvious warning signs in earliest stages.

If your family physician gave you a clean bill of health at an annual check-up one year, but told you a tumor had developed the next, you would likely understand it had developed between the two visits. The same can happen with periodontal disease.

This is why those six-month check-ups are so important. They catch problems at early stages so they don’t become bigger ones. Too, your home care between visits plays a major role in the condition of your oral health at each visit.

Should you learn that you have developed gum disease, the most important thing is for you to be treated promptly to restore good oral health. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

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