How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?
Do you have swollen, tender, or bleeding gums? Or perhaps you have no symptoms at all. Millions of people worldwide suffer from periodontal disease. This condition rarely causes severe pain or discomfort in the early stages, so it important to be screened by a dentist. Early treatment also allows your dentist to treat the disease effectively. At Platinum Dental Care, we offer a wide variety of dental treatments, including periodontal treatments to achieve and maintain healthy gums. Here, we will explore the stages of gum disease, and discuss what you can do to address the issue.
Why is Periodontal Health Important?
Before we discuss the stages of gum disease, it is important to understand why your gums are so crucial to oral and overall health. Essentially, the gums are the foundation of a smile. Underneath the gingiva, the jawbone holds the teeth firmly in place. If there is an infection in the gums, it also affects the jawbone. When the bone health is compromised, the teeth can become mobile. If this is left untreated, it can eventually lead to complete tooth loss.
In addition to oral health complications, gum disease can have a direct impact on your overall health. The bacteria in your oral cavity is carried to your vital organs via your bloodstream. Therefore, any bacteria present in your mouth is also present throughout your body. This can wreak havoc on your system, significantly increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke, dementia, and other disorders. Read on to learn about the three stages of gum disease, and how this condition can be treated.
Stage One: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is characterized by red, inflamed, tender gums that bleed when you brush and floss. This irritation is a response to the buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque deposits harbour bacteria, which aggravate the gum tissue. While gingivitis affects the gums, it has not reached the underlying bone at this early stage. Therefore, it is possible to completely reverse gingivitis with appropriate hygiene and regular dental cleanings.
Stage Two: Periodontitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, the bacteria that is irritating the gums begins to multiply. The infection seeps below the gum line, and begins to affect the surrounding jawbone. At this point, periodontal pockets begin to form around the necks of the teeth. These pockets can trap food, debris, and plaque, effectively continuing this harmful cycle of bone loss.
Once the disease has advanced to this point, it is impossible to address the problem with oral hygiene alone. Your toothbrush and floss cannot reach that far into the gum line. Therefore, you will require scaling and root planing, often referred to as a deep cleaning. During this procedure, the clinician will clean deep into the gum line, removing plaque deposits and sweeping away bacteria. The roots of the teeth will also be smoothed so that irritants do not reattach to the surfaces.
Stage Three: Advanced Periodontitis
If periodontitis continues on untreated, it will worsen. The bacteria will continue to eat away at the bone, causing the teeth to become mobile. In some cases, it can lead to tooth loss. Once gum disease reaches this point, it will require gum surgery to correct the situation. During this procedure, an incision is made along the gums, and they are moved back so the surgeon can access the bone and teeth roots. The infection will be removed, and the gums will be repositioned.
Achieving and Maintaining Optimal Gum Health
No matter what stage of gum disease you may be experiencing, we can help. However, it is important to understand that once the infection is eradicated, you will require maintenance visits for optimal oral health. This usually involves regular dental cleanings. Many patients have their teeth cleaned every six months. However, if you are prone to gum disease, you will benefit from more frequent cleanings. Your doctor can work with you to determine a hygiene schedule that will work for you.
Schedule Your Exam And Learn About Your Gum Disease Treatment Options
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, it is important to seek dental care before the condition worsens. To schedule a consultation at our Toronto, ON dental practice, contact us today.