Gum disease is a swelling or soreness of the gums (the soft tissue) around your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky colorless film that forms on your teeth. The plaque bacteria have toxins that inflame the gums.
If you do not remove plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth, it can build up and infect your gums, teeth, and the bone that supports them. If not treated by a dentist, you can lose your teeth.
The signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless. The earlier gum disease is caught, the easier it is to treat. That's why it's important to see your dentist regularly.
There are Three Stages in Gum Disease:
Gums are mildly sore, maybe red or puffy and may bleed during brushing.
This is the first sign of gum disease. Your gums may feel tender and you may see some bleeding when you brush or floss. The American Academy of Periodontology considers gingivitis a mild periodontal disease. Gingivitis can be reversed by having a dentist or hygienist clean your teeth and with proper brushing and flossing at home.
Gums pull away from the teeth. This lets plaque move toward the roots, supporting fibers and bone.
At this stage, plaque spreads to your tooth roots causing an infection, which can damage the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place. Your gums may begin to pull away from your teeth. Proper dental care and better home care can help stop more damage.
Supporting fibers and bone are destroyed. Teeth become loose and may need to be removed
This is the final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone holding your teeth in place is destroyed. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen and can affect your bite. If treatment can save your teeth, they may need to be removed.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
To find out if you have gum disease, your dentist or hygienist needs to check your teeth and gums. Since early gum disease can be reversed, it's important to see your dentist or hygienist if you see any of the following:
• Gums that bleed or are red, puffy or swollen, or sore.
• Gums that have pulled away from your teeth.
• Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
• Pus that appears between your teeth and gums.
• Constant bad breath or bad taste in your mouth.
Your oral health care provider can tell for sure if you have gum disease. That's why it's so important to have regular dental checkups.
During scaling, plaque and tarter are removed from the crown and roots of tooth.
What Should I Do if I Have Gum Disease?
• Brush and clean between teeth with floss or interdental cleaner the way your dentist tells you to do.
• Brush with an ADA Accepted anti-gingivitis tooth paste, such as Colgate Total, and use a soft-bristled tooth brush.
• You dentist may prescribe a special rinse such as Colgate PerioGuard to help fight gingivitis.
• Get professional dental cleanings. This is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and harden into tarter. Your dental professional will clean or "scale" your teeth to remove the tarter above and below the gum line.
• Do not smoke cigarettes or use other forms of tobacco.
• If your condition is very serious, surgery may be needed. Your dentist will tell you whether or not you need surgery. If you agree, the surgery can be done here at our clinic.
• Get regular checkups. They're the best way to discover and treat early g um disease before it leads to a more serious problem.