Periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease or periodontal disease, starts with the growth of bacteria in your mouth. This dangerous condition can eventually lead to tooth loss when soft tissues surrounding your teeth are destroyed.
Gingivitis is a type of gum inflammation that is normally evident before the onset of periodontitis. You should be aware, however, that not every case of gingivitis leads to periodontitis.
When gingivitis is in its early stages, bacteria leads to a buildup of plaque, which results in gum inflammation and gums that can start bleeding easily when brushing your teeth. At this stage, even though your gums may be inflamed, your teeth will still be firmly anchored within their sockets. This stage does not result in extensive tissue damage or irreversible bone loss.
So think of gingivitis as a warning sign. If it remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to the development of periodontitis - a more serious condition. In the case of periodontitis, the gum's inner layers and bone begin pulling away from teeth, leading to the formation of pockets. Debris and bacteria can collect inside these small spaces found between your teeth and gums, leading to an infection. This will result in inflammation, as your immune system begins fighting the bacteria while plaque grows and spreads under your gum line.
The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins that begin breaking down connective tissue and bone holding your teeth in place. With the progression of this disease, your pockets will deepen, resulting in the destruction of more gum tissue and bone. As this develops further, your teeth may no longer be firmly anchored in your mouth, growing loose and leading to eventual tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the main factor resulting in tooth loss among adults.
Our focus in treating gum disease is the promotion of healthy gums that allow your teeth to be firmly attached within your mouth. We will also be working to reduce swelling, fight infection, reduce the depth of pockets, and halt the progression of the disease. If you are suffering from gum disease, your treatment options depend upon factors like the progression of your gum disease, your response to earlier intervention, and your general health.
Gum disease is a serious condition, but the good news is that gingivitis can be reversed and gum disease can be halted almost every time when plaque comes under control. We can help control plaque by providing regular cleanings several times a year. Performing regular brushing and flossing at home is also extremely important to help prevent gum disease.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to have your teeth regularly cleaned by professionals. If you have been letting your dental checkups lapse, you owe it to yourself to schedule an appointment today with Image Dental & Orthodontics to help prevent the development of gum disease and maintain your teeth and smile.