Gum Disease Fact Sheet

Did you know that gum disease affects nearly half of all adults in America?

Gum disease begins simply as gingivitis, but can quickly spread and become worse, leading to tooth loss and permanent damage. The best way to be able to prevent gum disease from causing harm to your smile is to understand it – how it develops, how it spreads, and what its symptoms are. Discover more about this all too common dental problem and what you can do about it.

Understanding Gum Disease – How it Develops

To best fight gum disease, it helps to know how it starts in the first place. When you consume foods that are high in sugar, that sugar sticks to the teeth and attracts bacteria that feed on it. These bacteria accumulate into a substance called plaque and after feeding on sugar, they leave behind acids. If these acids seep into the gumline, they’re likely to cause infection and lead to gum disease.  

Can Gum Disease Interfere with My Other Dental Treatments?

Since gum disease leads to infection throughout your mouth if not treated early, it can definitely interfere with other treatments. For example, a patient who is wanting to get dental implants will have to heal their gum disease before they can proceed with the treatment. This precautionary measure is done so the patient gets the most value out of their treatment, and the maximum odds of success are guaranteed.

Three Stages of Gum Disease

One of the most important things to know about gum disease is that it progresses through three very different stages. The symptoms of each stage differ significantly, and can range from mildly irritated gums to teeth that are loose and falling out. Exploring the three stages of gum disease will emphasize why it’s vital to treat the problem when it’s first noticed.

Gingivitis

The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis, a condition characterized by red, swollen gums that are sensitive to the touch. Since there’s very little to no pain in most cases, it can be difficult to self-diagnose gingivitis, but your dentist will catch early signs of it at your biannual appointment. When you start to see infected pockets developing in the gums, that’s a sign your gum disease is in the process of progressing to the next stage.

Periodontitis

When gingivitis goes untreated, it can quickly become periodontitis. The main difference with periodontitis is that the infected pus pockets in the mouth have spread and become a lot more prevalent. While you won’t lose teeth at this stage, you may suffer permanent damage to the tissues that are holding your teeth in place.

Advanced Periodontitis

The final stage of gum disease is known as advanced periodontitis. At this stage, the tissue holding the teeth into place have been damaged, resulting in loose teeth that may fall out. Damage is so severe at this stage that surgery will likely be required to restore the patient’s mouth to a healthy condition.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Since there isn’t always pain associated with gum disease, it’s important to watch for symptoms and seek help when you first notice them. Alternatively, making it to your biannual dental appointments is often sufficient for catching gum disease in its developing stages.

  • Gums that are red and inflamed
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Noticeably bad breath
  • Infected pus pockets in the gums
  • Gums that are receding and pulling away from the teeth

Count on Dr. Anissi to Provide Treatments for Your Gum Disease

Gum disease is a problem that many people have heard about, but few properly understand. Once you know how the problem develops, actions such as minimizing the sugar in your diet and maintaining consistent oral care habits can help you prevent it. If you believe you have gum disease or are due for your next biannual appointment, Dr. Anissi can provide the treatments you need to make a complete recovery. Contact us today!

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