Periodontal disease – or gum disease – is an infection of the soft tissues that surround the teeth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, and many people who are living with the disease don’t even know it. Regular evaluations are crucial, as they will give your dentist a chance to look for signs of gum disease and to recommend potential treatments.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease results from plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria, and if it isn’t removed, it will create toxins that can damage your gums. As gum disease progresses it will create pockets beneath the gum line that cause the gums to separate from the teeth.
Gum Disease Stages
There are two main stages of gum disease, and they differ in terms of symptoms and treatment options.
This is the early stage of periodontal disease. While healthy gums are a pale pink color and firm, gums affected by gingivitis will be dark red. They may bleed easily, especially when brushing and flossing, and some other telltale signs include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Receding gums
- Tenderness of the gums
- Bad breath
The good news is that gum disease is reversible at this point, as long as you are committed to improving your oral health and you receive proper dental treatment.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. At this phase, the gums and the bones supporting your teeth can become seriously damaged. In addition to tender, swollen gums, other signs may include:
- Bright red gums that appear almost purple in color
- Gum recession that causes your teeth to look longer
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Loose teeth
- A change in your bite and how your teeth fit together
Gums affected by periodontitis can cause the teeth to loosen or fall out. Unfortunately, the damage is usually irreversible, so proper dental care is needed to prevent this issue.
Gum Disease Treatment
There are several gum disease treatment options available, both surgical and non-surgical. Contact us today if you are concerned about gum disease.