The thing to note about gum disease is that its main cause is bacteria, found in a sticky, colourless film forming on the teeth called plaque. Daily brushing and flossing is done for the purpose of removing this unwanted substance, otherwise plaque can build up. The bacteria in plaque can infect not only your tooth and gums, but also the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth.
A considerable number of people have heard of gum disease and its debilitating effects, but not many are aware it has stages. Knowing when a stage ends and when another begins can determine the dental intervention required by the patient’s condition.
The Three Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the earliest state of gum disease. It occurs when the plaque buildup at the gum line causes an inflammation. This means toxins have irritated the gum tissue, thus causing gingivitis. Common symptoms are bleeding during blushing and flossing. Since the damage has not reached the bone and the connective tissue holding the teeth in place, this type of disease is highly treatable. Practising proper oral hygiene not only prevents progression, but cures the disease altogether.
Gingivitis advances into periodontitis when the supporting tissue and fibres that hold the teeth together are damaged irreversibly. At this stage, the gums may recede or pull away from the tooth to form “pockets” below the gum line, which provide a dwelling place for food and bacteria. For periodontitis, dental intervention may be necessary. One of these treatments can be professional cleaning to remove the tartar and plaque.
Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. The bacteria have now destroyed the fibres and bone supporting the teeth, causing them to shift, loosen and drift apart. In this case, oral surgery will be performed to remove the affected teeth.
The main advantage of detecting your gum problem early is so you can prevent further damages. If you notice signs in your gums, such as bleeding, puffiness (swollen, red gums) and recession, take action and contact Northlight Dental for a consultation and treatment today.