Gingivitis deals with inflammation of the gums, or gingiva, and often arises from unchecked dental plaque, including harmful oral bacteria that builds upon the tissues around your teeth, in particular around the gum line, causing inflammation of the gums. While gingivitis can happen to anyone, it is typically mild as the early stage of gum disease. But, over time, if it is not finally removed, it can turn into the more destructive version called periodontitis. At this advanced stage, you can be faced with bone loss and tooth loss! Our goal is to treat your gums in the early gingivitis stage to prevent more serious damage from the threat of gum disease to your gums and teeth if it progresses.
What causes plaque-induced gingival disease?
- Unchecked dental plaque
- Systemic causes
- Taking certain medications
What causes non-plaque-induced gingival lesions?
- Exposure to certain bacterium, viruses, or fungi
- Genetic factors
- Allergic reactions
- Specific illnesses
- Oral wounds
The good news is, there are signs and symptoms you can be on the lookout for so that it can be spotted and treated in the early stages when it is still reversible. But that too can be tricky, because while you might typically see red, swollen and bleeding gums (when you brush or floss) as well as pain in the soft oral tissues, sometimes there aren’t noticeable signs. And the crucial part is that you usually can’t treat gum disease effectively from home. Rather, you’ll need to enlist the help of your dental team!
Professional Dental Checkups
This is one of the reasons your bi-annual dental cleanings and exams are so important, gum disease is spotted and treated early, which is great because that’s also when it’s minimally invasive and therefore less expensive to treat. This also avoids allowing bacteria from progressive gum disease to get into your bloodstream where it can contribute to health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease and even lung problems.
Four stages of Gum Disease
#1 – Beginning gingivitis: this is when your gums might be showing up inflamed and red and bleeding easily when you brush your teeth.
#2 – Beginning periodontitis: here you may not easily see other symptoms but there can be some bone loss around the teeth,
#3 – Moderate periodontitis: at this stage, you’ll have more bone loss, destroyed gum tissue (receding gums) and the teeth beginning to loosen because of damage to the connective tissue around the teeth.
#4 – Advanced periodontitis: now your teeth are in some real trouble! They can be very loose while it can hurt when you bite or chew food. This final stage usually involves some serious dental treatment.
One thing to remember is that you can treat gingivitis but the outcome of periodontitis is generally irreversible. At that point it’s become a long-term condition needing to be handled under the care of your dentist treating gum disease.
Keep in mind gum disease is the generic term for periodontal disease, whether it’s early-stage gingivitis or the more advanced stage of periodontitis. The main difference between them is that gingivitis is reversible even when you have red, swollen gums that are bleeding whenever you brush and floss every day during your oral hygiene care and routine. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is irreversible and can cost you teeth and bone loss.
Did you know…gum disease is actually the leading culprit in tooth loss? Most people think it’s tooth decay and cavities, but that’s actually not the case. If that surprises you, we just want you to be aware of gum disease treatment and how to prevent it so that you can keep your pearly whites healthy and in place.
Avoiding Tooth Loss
- Keep your gums healthy by brushing and flossing to keep harmful plaque away. Replace your toothbrush (or the head) every three to four months.
- See our dentist regularly. We’ll spot problems early and give you professional tips on how to keep your smile healthy.
- Wear a mouthguard while you sleep if you grind your teeth at night.
- Wear a sports guard if you play contact sports.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary treats, sodas, and alcohol.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
If you suspect you might be suffering from gum disease, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our team right away. Especially if you haven’t been to a dentist in at least six months. Your gums are vital to your oral health, and we work hard to help your teeth and gums stay healthy. Call our Exceptional Dentistry team in Palmdale, CA, at 661.349.7725 today, or make an online reservation to keep your smile on track. Dr. James D. Powell and our team look forward to helping you!