Can children and adolescents get gum disease? - Dr. Colin Richman

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Can children and adolescents get gum disease?

November 12, 2014

By: Dr. Colin Richman

Children and teenagers can develop many of the same oral diseases that may plague their parents, and that list certainly includes periodontal disease.

In fact, some characteristics may make children and adolescents more susceptible to gum disease. Proper oral hygiene techniques are an important defense against periodontal disease, yet younger dental patients may not have mastered these tasks yet.

When younger patients do develop periodontal disease, they are likely to need gum disease treatment to address the problem, just as adults do.

One procedure—laser assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP)—provides effective gum disease treatment with minimal discomfort, which is particularly beneficial to pediatric patients. This intervention uses lasers rather than scalpels to remove diseased gum tissue.

A periodontist can use LANAP to eliminate diseased gum tissue and promote the re-attachment of the gum to the tooth, reducing pocket depth.

Another common treatment is root scaling and planing. The bacteria that causes gum disease is cleared from the pocket that develops between the root and the gums, and rough spots on the root, where bacteria may collect, are smoothed over.

In order to get effective treatment before the gum disease progresses, children and their parents should monitor the gums for any symptoms that may indicate gum disease…

In order to get effective treatment before the gum disease progresses, children and their parents should monitor the gums for any symptoms that may indicate gum disease, such as bleeding, red or puffy gum tissue.

When gum disease is identified and treated in its earliest stage (gingivitis) the intervention is unlikely to be an invasive one. This is why early diagnosis and treatment is so important. Early stage gum disease often can be treated effectively with a thorough cleaning, while more advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may require surgical interventions.

After receiving gum disease treatment, the periodontist will also work with the child and his or her parents to create a plan to prevent a relapse of the condition.

Some people may believe that children and teenagers are not at risk for gum disease, but that perception is simply incorrect. Parents who notice signs of gum disease in their children should schedule an evaluation to learn about age-appropriate treatments for the condition.

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