Gum disease is a progressive condition. That is, it moves forward through different stages, with each subsequent stage producing more severe symptoms than the previous ones. Ideally, patients should seek treatment from a periodontist at the earliest signs of gum disease so that they can avoid consequences such as tooth and bone loss.
The onset of gum disease begins when the oral bacteria found in plaque—the sticky film that collects on your teeth—begin to attack your gum tissue and cause inflammation. The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene practices. Some patients may also have genetic susceptibility to gum disease, and certain conditions such as diabetes and pregnancy may also increase a patient’s risk for this condition.
Mild inflammation found in early stage gum disease, which is called gingivitis, manifests in several symptoms, including bleeding (even if it only occurs during brushing and flossing), redness or swelling in the gum tissue. Patients should monitor their gum tissue for these symptoms and consult with a periodontist if they notice any of them.
Fortunately, gingivitis can usually be addressed with a deep professional cleaning. However, if the patient does not seek treatment promptly, gum disease may advance to periodontitis. In periodontitis, pockets will develop between the teeth and gums. Not only does this represent more significant inflammation, but it also gives oral bacteria a space in which to congregate where they can do more damage. For periodontitis, the periodontist will need to provide a more involved intervention in which the pockets are thoroughly cleaned and reduced, and the gum tissue is reattached to the tooth.
Advanced periodontitis is the final and most serious stage of gum disease. In this stage, the gum tissue is destroyed. The bacteria may also attack the underlying bone tissue, which can result in tooth loss. Interventions for advanced periodontitis are typically surgical in nature.
Do you have all of the facts you need to reduce your risk of gum disease or to get treatment quickly after you are showing signs of the condition? Call our office and speak to one of our specialists to get any additional information you need about gum disease. And act quickly to schedule an appointment if you notice any symptoms.