With symptoms like red, swollen gums and painful toothaches, gum disease affects more than just our oral health. While it can be treated if caught early enough, the longer it is left untreated the more difficult it becomes to reverse. Not only this, but gum disease can also put you at risk for losing teeth and needing costlier dental work done in the future to restore your smile. If you’re not familiar with gum disease, here are the stages — from how it starts to just how bad it can get.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, which is also known as periodontitis, is an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissue and, in severe cases, can deteriorate the bone that supports your teeth. Mayo Clinic explains that periodontitis is common, however it is largely preventable. The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, so practicing good oral hygiene at-home and visiting your dentist regularly can help reduce your risk of developing it.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease can bring on a number of different symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Niles Family Dentistry:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding and sensitive gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Difficulty eating
Stages of Gum Disease
Here are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontics, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage, and is the result of plaque buildup near the gums. Daily brushing and flossing can help remove the plaque, however, if you’re not able to remove the plaque yourself it can irritate the gum tissue, causing inflammation that will result in bleeding while you brush your teeth. At this stage, you can reverse the damage, however, it can quickly get worse if action isn’t taken.
Periodontitis is the next stage where the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in the correct position begin to become affected. The gums will begin to form a pocket below the gum-line, which will begin to hold onto food and plaque. At this stage, professional dental treatment is is all that can help to prevent further progression.
Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease where the bone supporting the teeth becomes destroyed. At this point your teeth can begin to move and your bite can become affected. As a result, if professional dental treatment can’t help the issue, then the affected teeth might have to be extracted.
Scaling and Root Planing is what we use to give patients a healthy tissue environment. This is what helps the mouth re-adapt to normal tooth surfaces. Periodontal disease comes from a buildup of calculus, plaque, and stain on the crowns and root surfaces of teeth. This starts as minor gum inflammation, however it can progress to serious disease. When serious, it can lead to major damage to the soft tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. When this is left untreated, it can lead to losing teeth. In periodontal disease, gum tissue may detach (pull away) from teeth, and periodontal pockets form.
Having periodontal maintenance done means having procedures and protocols employed to clean and maintain the teeth and gums following a diagnosis of gum disease. This disease cannot be cured, only maintained. The procedures may appear to the patient to be very similar to a regular cleaning, but because the dentist or hygienist must now evaluate, instrument, and monitor the tissues differently and quite often more frequently, the procedures must be differentiated.
It is important to maintain a healthy mouth and do all you can to prevent gum disease, as having an overwhelming amount of bad bacteria in the mouth has been linked to serious health issues: like cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. Protecting your health starts with a clean mouth — and we can help you here at Niles Family Dentistry.
Make an Appointment with Niles Family Dentistry
Dr. Niles is committed to bringing her patients the best and most advanced dentistry there is to offer. Equally committed to the environment as well as your overall health and wellness, Dr. Niles and our team at Niles Family Dentistry is here for you. If you are showing signs of gum disease or just want to prevent it from happening to you, call today for an appointment at (720)-744-0001.