Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health condition that affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, leading to inflammation and gum tissue infection. It is a common oral health condition and is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease typically develops when the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, leads to inflammation and infection of the gums. Visit First Smile Family Dental, for the best dental care.
The Stages of Gum Disease
This is the early stage of gum disease and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene that allows plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to accumulate on the teeth and gum line. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and tender gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, and bad breath.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease. In periodontitis, the infection spreads below the gum line, and the bacteria release toxins that cause damage to the gums, connective tissues, and bones that support the teeth. As a result, the gums may recede, creating pockets between the teeth and gums. Over time, these pockets can become infected, further destroying the supporting structures. Symptoms of periodontitis include persistent bad breath, gum recession, loose teeth, changes in the bite, and even tooth loss.
The Causes of Gum Disease
- Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque to accumulate on the teeth, leading to gum inflammation and the development of gum disease.
- Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for gum disease. It weakens the immune system and impairs blood flow to the gums, making it harder for the body to fight infections.
- People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing infections, including gum disease. Gum disease can also make it more challenging to control blood sugar levels, creating a two-way relationship between diabetes and gum disease.
- Some individuals may be more genetically predisposed to developing gum disease. A family history of gum disease can increase the likelihood of its occurrence.
The Treatment Options for Gum Disease
Professional Dental Cleaning
In the early stage of gum disease, a professional dental cleaning, also called scaling and root planing, is usually the first step. It involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and smoothing the root surfaces to promote gum reattachment and prevent further buildup.
The gums are lifted back, and tartar is removed. The gums are then sutured back to reduce the pocket depth and make it easier to maintain oral hygiene.
In severe cases where the supporting bone has been damaged, bone grafts may be performed to promote bone regeneration.
It's important to remember that early detection and treatment of gum disease can help prevent further damage to the gums and supporting structures. If you suspect you have gum disease, visit First Smile Family Dental at 32717 1st Ave S., Suite 9, Federal Way, WA 98003, or call (253) 785-7323.