Gum Disease and How Your Dentist Can Help A lot of times, patients are told they have periodontitis or gingivitis but a good explanation of each is not given. This can leave the patient confused and frustrated because they are told they have a disease but don’t understand its cause or remedy. Therefore, this article with an attempt to shine some light on what is known as gum disease.
Gum disease is a localized infection of the gums. This infection does not usually spread to any other part of the body but can still affect the overall health of the patient. The infection is caused by the growth and accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and this causes your body to react with inflammation of the gums. The bacteria growing on your teeth form what is called “plaque” which is the filmy feeling you have on your teeth before brushing. If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it grows and becomes harder. Once it hardens, it is now known as calculus or tartar, which can no longer be removed with brushing and flossing but instead needs to be professionally cleaned. Calculus not only causes inflammation in your gums but also begins to affect the fibres and bone surrounding your teeth. This can lead to them becoming loose, forming an abscess, falling out or having them removed by your dentist. There are three stages of gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis. This stage usually includes redness in your gums, bleeding when brushing and round or bulbous gums. This is all caused by the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. This stage is completely reversible if the plaque is removed and proper oral hygiene is maintained. The next stage is referred to as periodontitis. In this stage, the surrounding bone and fibres are damaged. Signs of periodontitis include the formation of calculus, pocketing around your teeth and loosing or shifting of teeth. The damage caused by this stage is irreversible. However, the progression of periodontitis can be reduced and even eliminated by visiting your hygienist on a regular basis for thorough cleanings. It might not be reversible, but the bone levels around your teeth can at least be maintained. The third stage of gum disease is Advanced Periodontitis. In this stage, there has been a tremendous amount of bone loss around the teeth and teeth are loose or shifted out of alignment. This can lead to trouble biting and chewing which in turn can lead to the removal of these infected teeth. Periodontal abscesses can also form at this stage. At this point, aggressive treatment is needed to save the teeth which may include gum surgery. By scheduling regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist, gum disease can be treated before it progresses to the more serious stages. Also, vigilant home care is needed by daily brushing and flossing. If your condition has reached the advanced stages, then it’s best to sit down with your dentist and discuss your treatment options. If you are looking for a dentist in Langley, BC, then Langley Village Dental would be more than happy to assist!