Gum disease is caused by an infection of the gingiva (gums) and it can often lead to severe dental problems if left untreated. There are two main stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontitis itself is further divided into three stages based on the amount of bone loss that has occurred.
When plaque gets into the spaces between your teeth, it can infect the gum tissue and cause inflammation. Gingivitis is characterized by redness, swelling, and some bleeding in the gums. It may also cause bad breath. At this stage, it’s very easily treatable with good oral hygiene. Since bone damage has not yet occurred, gingivitis is completely reversible.
If left untreated, however, gingivitis will lead to periodontal disease, involving deep pockets between the gums and tooth roots, cavities, and even tooth loss at later stages.
When the bone structure around the tooth starts to decay, early periodontitis has set in. At this point, we start to see pockets form between the gums and tooth, making it less secure and providing a haven for more bacteria. Even with the destruction of bone and infection, pain is unlikely at this point.
Deeper pockets around the teeth and increased infection characterize moderate periodontitis. This results in more plaque buildup on the tooth, more bone loss, and a higher risk of losing teeth. Even so, pain is still not usually an issue at this point.
Early or moderate gum disease can be treated through gentle cleaning procedures, such as scaling and planing, which remove tartar from the tooth surface. These procedures have the added benefit of smoothing the tooth’s surface, making it more difficult for bacteria to settle in.
If left untreated, advanced periodontitis can occur. At this point, there is a very high risk of losing the tooth as more bone is lost, so prompt action is vital. More aggressive techniques are needed to treat advanced gum disease, including surgery and deep cleaning.
Fortunately, laser surgery techniques are available to help treat advanced periodontitis. These techniques provide a far less invasive treatment process than traditional periodontal surgery with a much faster recovery time. Other techniques, such as bone and gum grafting, can help reverse the loss of bone and soft tissue associated with this stage of gum disease.
Dental Treatments Available
Scaling, planing, laser cleaning, and LANAP laser surgery can all treat periodontal disease. Dr. Lynn can help you by providing the right procedure for your needs. To learn more or to set up a consultation to begin treatment for gum disease, contact the experts at Lynn Dental Care today.