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When gum disease is in its earliest stages, called gingivitis, it is often painless, and you may not even know that you have it. But if gum disease is left unchecked, it can lead to lost teeth, and problems with your jaw. Your gum disease could result in complications if you have diabetes, an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, respiratory problems, and even dementia.

While gingivitis can have different causes, the primary cause is a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Your gums react by swelling, which will allow more plaque to accumulate below the gumline where your toothbrush can’t reach it. The best way to prevent gingivitis is by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and using dental floss at least once a day. You also need to see your dentist for your routine cleanings and exams. But if gingivitis becomes a problem for you, your dentist can definitely help.

One way that your dentist can address your gingivitis is through scaling and root planing, This process often takes two visits, and a local anesthetic may be required. In the first step, scaling, your dentist will use an instrument to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth, both above and below the gumline. During the second step, root planing, the dentist will clean and smooth the roots of your teeth so that they will have a healthy attachment to your jaw.

Some of the symptoms of gum disease can include inflamed gums, bad breath and teeth that appear to be longer, which is a result of receding gums. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or are concerned about gum disease, why not plan a visit with our dentist, Dr. Steven Freeman? If you would like to schedule an appointment at Elite Smiles in Saint Augustine, Florida, call 904-201-4304 today. We look forward to helping you enjoy a healthy smile!