Gum disease affects millions of individuals. If left untreated it can cause a decline in oral health or even tooth loss. Serious gum disease is now believed to be connected to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Gum disease takes years to develop and is primarily blamed on lack of personal oral hygiene. Gum disease can be divided into two main categories, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is essentially inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis commonly precedes the more serious periodontitis. It is important to remember that not all gingivitis escalates to the level of periodontitis.
Gingivitis typically begins due to plaque building up in and around the gums. This plaque buildup contains bacteria which causes inflammation and bleeding commonly noticed during brushing. With gingivitis the gums are primarily at a stage of being irritated with some inflammation yet the teeth are still securely planted. There will sometimes be minimal pocket depth and minute bleeding of the gums if probed by a dentist. At this point there is no bone deterioration or serious tissue damage. Anyone suffering from gingivitis can take action to keep their situation from getting worse or developing into periodontitis. At this point the disease is completely reversible. Everyone should brush and floss after meals and at bedtime and see a dentist regularly.
Mild periodontitis can sometimes remain undetected by the one suffering the disease. However most do notice subtle changes in the health of their teeth and gums. The most common symptoms suffered are increased redness of the gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing and increasingly bad breath. Upon dental examination there are notable tooth pockets and infection under the gums causing destruction of the supporting bone. Completely eliminating the disease with perfect hygiene practice alone is no longer possible at this stage.
At this stage of the disease there is already a moderate loss of tooth attachment and serious pocket formation. There will commonly be 30-50% bone loss, notable tooth shifting and worsening of infection with significant bleeding and pus within the gums at this point. There will also be serious gum recession. Also note there is already bacteria from the infection under the gum entering the bloodstream and stressing the immune system at this stage.
At this stage of periodontal disease there is advanced deterioration of gum tissue with severe tooth pockets and gingival recession. There will also be severe tooth detachment. Sufferers at this stage of periodontal disease may even discover an occasional tooth falling out without immediately noticing it. There is 50-90% bone loss and usually serious tooth shifting throughout the mouth. The bacteria becomes more aggressive at this stage and there can also be formation of periodontal abscesses. Notable bleeding and pus leakage can occur. There can also be extreme sensitivity to cold, pain when chewing, obvious bad breath and gaps between the teeth. At this point harmful bacteria is continually entering the bloodstream and possibly contributing to other health concerns such as cardiovascular disease.
Periodontitis is a preventable disease for those who practice proper oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly. Daily brushing and flossing after meals and at bedtime will help preserve the health of the teeth and gums. It is important to see a dentist like Dr. Urszula Barrios for a full evaluation and treatment plan to prevent periodontitis. Our office utilizes nothing but the latest and best dental technology equipment for diagnosing and treating every patient. Call today for an appointment.