You’ve heard the ads that warn about gingivitis and you’ve heard warning signs from your dentist. But do you fully understand what gum disease is or how it’s caused? Gum disease can range from a minor irritability to a devastating disease that makes it difficult to chew and speak. Explore the facts surrounding gum disease and see how it develops and how to prevent it.
How Does Gum Disease Develop in Your Mouth?
When you eat sugar and bread, some of the particles get stuck on your teeth, which attracts bacteria and eventually forms plaque. If left on the teeth, the acids that are created can lead to dental caries, but if they accumulate near the gum line, it will often result in gum disease. From there, the disease will continue to spread infection in and around your gum tissue.
Signs that You’re Suffering from Gum Disease
Gum disease isn’t always accompanied by feelings of pain, so it’s important to recognize signs of it as they appear in your mouth. Those symptoms include:
- Tender gums that are sensitive to the touch
- Consistently bad breath
- Misaligned teeth
- Red, inflamed gums
- Loosened teeth
- Gums bleed when brushing your teeth
Three Stages of Gum Disease
To understand gum disease, it’s crucial to know that it progresses through three stages. These stages are extremely different in terms of the intensity of symptoms. At its onset, gum disease may cause mild irritation to the gums, but if left untreated, it can cause tooth loss and other problems. These are the three stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease where it’s at its most treatable and has the mildest symptoms. Nonetheless, gingivitis can cause your gum tissue to itch and feel irritable when brushing, flossing, and eating, so it’s a problem you’ll want to solve quickly. Plus, leaving it untreated paves the way for far worse symptoms in the future.
When your gum disease is left untreated, it can become periodontitis, a stage that is characterized by the presence of infected pus pockets in the mouth and gum tissue. Periodontitis is a serious disease because in addition to serious discomfort when eating and brushing, it can leave your gum tissue permanently damaged which weakens your teeth.
The final and most severe stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. All previous symptoms may be more intense in this stage and your gum tissue may be so damaged that tooth loss is inevitable. While previous stages can be treated with a scaling and root planing procedure, advanced periodontitis will probably require surgical treatments.
Treating Your Gum Disease
The optimal treatments we use to eliminate your gum disease will depend on the patient and the severity of the problem. These are some of the most commonly used treatments:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure where your plaque is completely removed from your teeth, all the way down into the gumline. This is a non-invasive procedure that is highly effective because it gets rid of the plaque and bacteria that cause the disease in the first place.
Since the cause of gum disease is excess bacteria in the mouth, various factors can increase or decrease the production of these bacteria, including medications and hormonal changes. It’s also important to know that medications can be the cause of your gum disease in certain cases. This is why it’s vital to mention all medications you’re using to your dentist before your procedure.
Gum disease can leave parts of your gums and tissue completely destroyed and unable to recover on its own. In these situations, gum grafts may be an effective solution. A gum graft takes healthy gum tissue from another part of your mouth and replaces it where it’s needed. Most often used in cases of advanced periodontitis, gum grafting is a valuable treatment.
Come to Us For Top-Quality Gum Disease Care in Nashville
Gum disease can be a real menace to your daily life, but only if you don’t catch it in its early stages. If you have gum disease at any stage, it’s vital to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse and spreading throughout your mouth. Drs. Fleming, Elam, and Vaughan are highly experienced at treating all forms of gum disease and can provide the dental care that works for you. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.