What is gum disease?
Gum disease is swelling or soreness of the soft tissue around your teeth. Gum disease is also more formally refer to as periodontal disease. Later stages of periodontal disease also affect the bones supporting the teeth.
What causes gum disease?
- hormonal changes
What are the symptoms?
- bleeding gums
- red, swollen or sore gums
- changes to your bite
- appearance of pus between the teeth
- halitosis (bad breath)
- bad taste
What are the stages of gum disease?
1) Gingivitis: This stage presents as slightly red or puffy gums. Gums tend to bleed easily when you brush or floss. Additionally, you may also notice some bad breath. The bacteria have begun to cause infection.
2) Early Periodontitis: The bacterial infection spreads from the gum to the bone supporting the teeth. This infection causes pockets where the gum has begun pulling away from the teeth. Subsequently, bacteria can destroy some of the bone at this stage.
3) Moderate Periodontitis: The bacterial infection spreads even further down the root of the tooth. As a result, up to one-third of the supporting bone is lost. Therefore, the pockets are now much deeper.
4) Advanced Periodontitis: Half or more of the bone supporting the tooth is lost. The periodontal pockets are very deep causing the tooth to appear longer because the gums have receded exposing the root. Therefore, the tooth is at risk for becoming loose, falling out, or even having to be extracted.
Who is at higher risk?
- people who use tobacco products
- patients with a family history
- those with weakened immune systems
- those under stress
- patients on certain medications (especially anticonvulsant medications and angina medications)
What can I do to help prevent gum disease?
- brush and floss daily and with the correct techniques
- get regular cleanings and exams
- eat healthy foods containing a variety of vitamins and minerals
Diagnosis and Treatment
At Adams and Cheek Dentistry, we are always screening for early signs of gum disease. However, staying on top of regular check ups helps ensure that nothing is missed. Fortunately, we are able to treat mild to moderate cases of periodontitis here in our office. If you are diagnosed with an advanced stage, we may refer you to a periodontal specialist for further evaluation.
The staff at Adams and Cheek Dentistry is always happy to answer any questions about any dental condition. Please call us at 919.866.1360 or click here to contact us. Additionally, for more information about gum disease go to perio.org.