Gum disease is an inflammation that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth. It is caused by bacteria in plaque (transparent, sticky film that constantly forms on the teeth and gums). If not removed daily brushing and flossing, plaque builds up and the bacteria infect not only your gums and teeth, but also the sub-gingival tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can be a cause teeth to become loose, fall out or finally the need to remove the dentist.
There are basically three stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis is the first stage of the disease. It is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup on the edge of it, which, not being eliminated by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. It can be seen bleeding during brushing, flossing or even spontaneously. At this early stage of the disease, the damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place are not yet affected.
- Periodontitis: At this stage, the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place suffer irreversible damage. A bag is way below the gumline, where food and plaque get trapped. Proper dental treatment and care in the most careful home usually help prevent further damage.
- Advanced Periodontitis: In this final stage of the disease, the fibers and bone supporting the teeth are destroyed, which makes the teeth to shift or loosen. The bite can be affected and, if appropriate treatment is not performed, may be that the dentist has to remove the teeth.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease can occur at any age but is most common in adults. If detected in its early stages, it can be reversed or slow its development. See your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- The gums are red, swollen or tender
- There bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- The teeth appear to be longer because the gums have receded and are the roots
- Changes in the way your teeth feel close to biting
- There may be discharge of pus between teeth and gums
- The presence of bad breath or bad taste is constantly perceived in the mouth
How is gum disease treated?
The early stages of the disease, professional hygiene and strict control board based on proper brushing and flossing control the problem. Good oral health will help prevent recurrence.
A professional cleaning done by a dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque buildup that has hardened into tartar. Your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth to remove tartar above and below the gum line. If your condition is more severe, you may perform a procedure for root planing. Root planning helps to eliminate irregularities in the tooth roots, preventing plaque deposition.
By scheduling regular reviews, the gum disease in its early stages can be treated before it becomes a more serious disorder. If the disease is already in an advanced state, a more complex need professional treatment.