Periodontal disease, periodontitis, or gum disease, is a serious condition that can have a major impact on your teeth and oral health.
What is Gum Disease?
This type of disease is an infection of the gum tissues resulting from the bacteria in dental plaque, which results in the destruction of the gums and bone tissue surrounding your teeth.
If not treated, periodontal disease can cause your teeth to become loose and eventually all out.
This is best treated early when the gums can still heal, before any permanent damage is done.
Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease begins as Gingivitis. You may have red or swollen gums that may bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection progresses, your teeth and gums may begin to recede, typically resulting in tooth sensitivity. Gum pockets will begin to form as the gums pull away from the teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease is primarily caused by plaque that remains on the teeth for too long. This is why good oral hygiene is important at home—both brushing and flossing. Bacteria that are missed on the teeth or below the gumline can contribute to periodontal disease.
There are other factors that can also impact your likelihood to develop gum disease. Some of these are changes in hormones or metabolism, such as during puberty or pregnancy. Medicines or medical conditions that reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth can also contribute to gum disease.
Good home care is the best prevention for gum disease, and if you have developed gingivitis, revisiting how you brush and floss may help. Talk with us to review the best way to keep your gums and teeth healthy at home.
For some patients, we may recommend more frequent visits to our office for professional cleanings to keep gum disease at bay.
Dr. Cave may also suggest a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. This is a minimally-invasive procedure that can be performed at the early stages of gum disease, when gum pockets have developed that are deeper than 3mm. During a deep cleaning, a numbing agent will be applied to your teeth and plaque and tartar will be cleared away from the exposed portions of the roots in order to allow the gums to reattach.