If you have recently noticed that your gums are sensitive or red and puffy, this may cause concern. You may even have begun noticing traces of blood when you brush or floss normally. These are all signs of early gum disease, medically known as periodontal disease. This condition can become severe if left undetected and untreated. It can eventually result in permanent tooth loss.
To ensure that you do not join the ranks of the millions who suffer from gum disease, you will need some good information to know what you should be looking for in periodontic services so that you can receive timely treatment and prevent the problem from becoming a permanent condition.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Our gums are the soft tissues surrounding and supporting our teeth. Healthy gum tissue is naturally pink. When your gums become inflamed, they start appearing red and puffy, leading to them wearing away.
Our gums’ health is essential because these soft tissues help protect our teeth from dangerous oral bacteria. Without healthy gums, you stand a greater risk of losing your teeth, as well as developing associated health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
There are, generally speaking, three stages of gum disease.
When gum disease is in its early stages, it is known as “gingivitis.” This is a type of infection and inflammation of the soft tissues supporting your teeth, including your gums and periodontal ligaments.
Gingivitis is caused by plaque deposits found on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that adheres to your teeth, containing bacteria, food debris, and mucus accumulating on exposed teeth. Plaque is a leading cause of tooth decay.
When plaque is not removed, it eventually hardens into tartar that accumulates at the base of the teeth. The presence of plaque and tartar is an irritating and inflaming agent to the gums. The toxins released by oral bacteria lead your gums to become tender and swollen.
The symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
- Gums that are bright red in color
- Gums that are painful when touched
- Mouth sores and swollen gums
- Bad breath
The focus of gingivitis treatment is alleviating inflammation and removing dental plaque or tartar. Our dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth using various dental tools. You will also be given instructions to ensure that you are brushing and flossing properly.
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection resulting from the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth and gums. As the condition worsens, it can result in damage to your teeth and bones. Fortunately, the damage can be halted if periodontitis is detected and treated early.
In addition to all of the symptoms of gingivitis, the signs and symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth, or changes in the position of teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Tooth loss
- Overall inflammatory response within your body
The most common type of treatment for periodontitis is a professional teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist will remove the buildup of plaque and tartar from your teeth and roots, finishing by polishing your teeth and providing fluoride treatment. A deep cleaning may be required for the treatment of any periodontal pockets. Treatments called “scaling” and “root planing” can remove tartar and smooth any rough areas that allow bacteria to have a safe harbor.
When gum disease reaches the third stage, pockets continue deepening, placing the bones anchoring your teeth at risk. As the condition progresses, pockets may begin filling with pus. When the condition reaches this stage, your teeth may loosen or fall out. Although the third and final stage of gum disease is irreversible, dental implants may still be a good tooth-replacement option.
Contact Lovett Dental Pearland to Learn More About Gum Disease
If you suspect that you are developing gum disease, it is time to act. Call Lovett Dental Pearland at 281-416-5844 to schedule an appointment or to receive further information about any of our periodontic services.