The most common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
As with any health condition, the sooner it is detected, the easier it is to treat. If you experience any symptoms of gum disease, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Stages Of Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs when bacteria forms a sticky, colorless plaque on the teeth. Brushing and flossing can remove the plaque, but any remaining traces can harden into tartar. When this happens, a professional teeth cleaning is the best way to remove the tartar. If tartar remains on the teeth for a prolonged period, gum disease can develop. This process occurs in three stages:
The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more harmful they become. Left untreated, they can cause gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gums. During this early stage of periodontal disease, you may notice your gums are red and swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis can be easily reversed with a dental cleaning followed by good oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can result in periodontal pockets. The inflammation around the tooth causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming spaces or pockets that become infected. The immune system must then fight the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
The toxins created by the bacteria irritate the gums, triggering a chronic inflammatory response. To fight the infection, the body creates good enzymes. The interaction of the bacteria and enzymes results in a breakdown of the bone and connective tissue that holds the teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Without this solid support structure, teeth can become loose, and may fall out or require removal.
Although good dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist can help prevent gum disease, there are some factors can increase your risk of developing the condition:
- Natural aging process
- Inadequate nutrition
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Autoimmune disorders
- Certain medications
While professional cleaning and daily brushing and flossing can reverse gingivitis, more severe stages of gum disease can require extensive treatment:
- Deep Cleaning: We can use special techniques to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
- Medication: In some cases, antibiotics and prescription mouthwash can help patients overcome gum disease.
- Surgical Treatments: It may be necessary to incise the gums to eliminate plaque and bacteria below the gum line. Meanwhile, if you have experienced gum recession, a graft can restore lost tissue and provide support for the teeth.
During a consultation, a dentist will fully assess your oral health and recommend the right treatment for you.
Periodontal disease is easily prevented and highly treatable. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, we can help restore your health and comfort. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.