The gums usually become inflamed because of poor oral hygiene. Plaque, which thrives on remaining sugar in your mouth, builds up on your teeth. When plaque continues to accumulate, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which keep your teeth in place. It is also referred to as gum disease and typically starts as a simple inflammation, but it may turn into a severe oral health problem resulting in tooth loss.
What Are the Stages of Periodontal Disease?
The longer plaque and tartar stay in your mouth, the greater the harm they can inflict on your gums. Let’s go through the three stages of periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Plaque buildup causes the gingiva, the gum tissue located at the base of the teeth, to become red or swollen. If you have gingivitis, you may notice your gums tend to get irritated easily and bleed when you brush your teeth. Other symptoms include bad breath or a sour taste in your mouth.
Although plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, other risk factors increase your likelihood of developing gum disease:
- Smoking and recreational drug use
- Illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and HIV
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications with adverse side effects on the gum tissue or saliva production
Fortunately, practicing good oral habits coupled with frequent visits to your dentist can stop gingivitis from affecting the underlying structures in your mouth. The early stage of gum disease is the ideal time for diagnosis and treatment, because the teeth are still firmly attached to the gums, and there is still no irreversible damage to the bones or tissue.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can worsen into periodontitis, a chronic and more serious form of gum disease. The American Dental Association estimates that chronic periodontitis affects nearly half or 47.2% of adults over 30 years old in the U.S.
In periodontitis, the gums slowly pull away from the teeth. This results in gaps known as periodontal pockets that become infected. Bacteria flourishes as the plaque spreads below the gum line. Your immune system will fight the bacteria, which can result in further damage to your gums and bone/tissue breakdown.
In advanced cases of periodontitis, the bones and gums that keep your teeth in place break down even further. The depth of the pockets in a healthy mouth is 1–3 millimeters. On the other hand, the pockets between the teeth and gums in advanced periodontitis deepen, sometimes up to 1 centimeter.
Without appropriate dental intervention, these pockets become the perfect breeding ground for more bacteria. Bacteria and tartar in hard-to-reach pockets can result in further inflammation that affects not just the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth, but also the jawbone.
Symptoms of advanced periodontitis include wobbling teeth or pain while chewing. As the gums recede, the roots of the teeth become more visible. Over time, the teeth become loose or fall out entirely.
Periodontal Treatment in Doral, Florida
The early symptoms of periodontal disease may not be visible for everyone. However, your dentist can easily spot them. Don’t wait until you experience bleeding gums, sensitivity, or any other symptoms before consulting your dentist.
Visit the experts at Smiles at Doral for a comprehensive checkup and prevent gingivitis from progressing into severe periodontal disease. Our team is led by Dr. Belkis C. Del Puerto, who specializes in a wide range of oral problems like periodontal disease. Rest assured that Dr. Del Puerto and our team will get your gums back in tip-top shape.
To schedule an appointment, call us today at (305) 597-2227 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to being your oral healthcare partner!