A woman taking on Gum Disease through vigorous flossing in Houston Texas.Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the gums. The infection, which is usually due to poor oral hygiene, results in the inflammation of the gums as well as the supporting teeth. If not treated, gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth and the destruction of the gum tissues. At Edge Dental, we offer several solutions to help treat gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a progressive disease that occurs in different stages. The first stage is gingivitis, which is the mildest form of the disease. At this stage, the gums are inflamed, red in color, and bleed easily, particularly when brushing your teeth. Since the disease has not progressed too much at this stage, it is reversible with proper oral care and professional treatment.
If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis, where the infection spreads to the supporting bone and the connective tissue that hold the teeth. At this stage, your gums start to form a “pocket” below the gumline, where food and plaque are trapped. The bacteria in the plaque interact with the trapped food, creating toxins that cause an inflammatory response. This causes the gum tissue and the supporting bone to be gradually destroyed. As the disease progresses, the gum pockets deepen, and the supporting tissue holding the teeth in place weaken. Eventually, the teeth become loose, which can result in extraction. Loss of the jawbone can also occur.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, which leads to the accumulation of plaque on the teeth and the gums. As a result, the bacteria in the plaque attack the gums, causing an infection. However, there are other factors that can cause or increase the risk factor of the occurrence of gum disease. They include:
• Smoking or chewing tobacco, which compromises the health of the gums, thus preventing them from healing when an infection occurs
• Illnesses that lower your body’
• s immune system, causing your gums to be more susceptible to infection. For example, HIV, cancer, and diabetes.
• Some medications, for example, those that reduce the levels of saliva (which has antibacterial properties), thus increasing the vulnerability of the gums to a bacterial infection
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
There are some symptoms that can signify gum disease. These include:
• Pain and tenderness in the gums and teeth
• Swelling of the gums, which can cause them to turn red or purple
• Persistent bad breath
• The occurrence of spaces between your teeth
• Receding gums
• Bleeding, especially when you brush or floss
• Loose teeth
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Treatment for gum disease is dependent on the level that the disease has progressed to. In case of gingivitis, the disease can be treated by professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, proper oral hygiene, and the elimination of risk factors causing the problem, for example, smoking.
However, when the disease has progressed into periodontitis, advanced treatments are required. These include deep root scaling and root planning to remove the plaque and tartar that has been trapped in the gum pockets.
Surgical treatments can also be used to treat periodontitis. Common surgical gum disease procedures include pocket reduction, gum tissue removal (where there is excess gum tissue), tissue and bone regeneration, tissue grafting, and others.
Medications such as antibiotics can also be offered in combination with other gum disease treatments used to help fight the bacterial infection.
Gum disease is a serious dental disease that can lead to the loss of teeth, loss of jawbone, and other dental health issues. However, treatments are available that can help you to stop the advancement of the disease before it becomes too serious. If you are suffering from gum disease, call us, Edge Dental, at (281) 940-8940 for more information on available treatments.