What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is primarily caused by a bacterial infection that affects the soft tissue and bone-supporting teeth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are two stages of gum disease, the latter being a chronic illness.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. When you don’t brush your teeth twice, use mouthwash, and floss at least once a day, the food remains stuck to your teeth. A sticky film of bacteria covers the remains called plaque. Within 72 hours, it hardens into tartar, a permanent build-up on your teeth. The bacteria in the infected gums release acids, damaging the outer layer (enamel) of your teeth resulting in decay. Tartar makes it harder to clean your teeth, inflaming your gums and causing gingivitis.
By this stage, there is no permanent damage. The teeth firmly fit into the sockets, and none of the tissues or bones are damaged. Gingivitis is reversible with tartar removal and taking care of basic dental health.
Without any gingivitis treatment, the situation worsens and turns into periodontal disease. Due to all the build-up and decay, the bone and inner layer of the gum move further away from the tooth, forming pocket-like structures. When you eat, these pocket-like structures collect food remains, causing further infection and damage to the gum line.
Exposure to chemicals like the body’s enzymes and the acids secreted by bacteria breaks down the connective tissue as they tear through the gum line. Consequently, the tooth is no longer anchored and becomes loose. In serious cases, it would then have to be removed by a dentist. This is why periodontitis is a common reason behind tooth loss in adults.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Disease
Undoubtedly, excellence in dentistry begins with the correct evaluation of your disease. Rest assured, our team of brilliant diagnosticians will carry out a thorough examination using state-of-the-art modern equipment handled with care.
Even though the gum disease symptoms are subtle, it’s not a disease without any at all.
Some are as follows:
- Bleeding gums after brushing
- Red and swollen gums
- Formation of pockets between gums and teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
Not experiencing any of this doesn’t mean that you can’t have periodontal disease. Only a dental team can tell this for sure with a proper examination and diagnosis. The dental exam usually includes:
- Reviewing medical history – to look for factors that may have contributed to the disease such as smoking
- Examination of mouth – for tartar buildup, gum infection, or bleeding gums. They might also examine the teeth for alignment and sensitivity
- Measuring the depth of pockets (if formed) – can be measured by placing a dental probe inside your teeth and gums. The depth indicates the severity of the disease.
- X-rays – to check for possible bone loss in a severe case of periodontitis.
Gum Disease Treatment
If our specialists end up diagnosing gum disease, we will immediately start your treatment. Now, the sort of treatment you’re recommended, be it surgical or non-surgical, entirely depends upon the gravity of the situation. This can only be done after a comprehensive examination of your teeth. In some cases of periodontitis, our options range from non-surgical therapies, bacterial control, and root planing to surgical treatments like grafting to restore supportive tissues and bones.
Schedule an appointment now with Dr. Robert H. Thornton for gum disease treatment.
Monday – Wednesday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 3:30pm