What Is Gum Disease and Why Does It Happen?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection that occurs in the area between the teeth and bone that supports the teeth. Over time, pockets begin to form; these are referred to as “periodontal pockets.” Healthy mouths do not have deep periodontal pockets, but mouths that have been ravaged by gum disease do. Bacteria get trapped and breed in the plaque and tartar deposits that form within periodontal pockets, initializing a process that leads to the destruction of bone and soft tissues.
Without proper treatment and ongoing maintenance, gum disease will only worsen.
That is why it is so necessary to visit a dentist or periodontist if you think you might have periodontal disease. Our Atlanta Restorative Dentistry has successfully treated several patients with gum disease.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Gum Disease
In its earliest stages, gum disease may not show many warning signs, but you will need to see a dental specialist if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding, swollen or tender gums
- Chronic halitosis – bad breath – that does not go away after brushing, rinsing with mouthwash, flossing, eating mints or chewing gum
- Increasing tooth sensitivity to heat, cold and sweets
- Loose, drifting teeth
- Pus coming from between the gums and teeth
- Gum recession
- Loss of teeth
Staging Your Level of Gum Disease
There are several levels of gum disease, and when you work with our dental specialists, they can help determine the stage you are in:
Stage One: Gingivitis
During this stage, the gums are inflamed and likely bleeding. With proper care, the progression of gum disease and irreversible tissue damage can be avoided at this point.
Stage Two: Early Periodontitis
At this stage, bone loss is just beginning, and periodontal pockets are starting to deepen.
Stage Three: Moderate Periodontitis
If you have moderate periodontitis, you have probably noticed a great deal of gum inflammation, tooth sensitivity due to gum recession and halitosis. You may even notice dark, triangular spaces between your teeth due to advancing bone loss.
Stage Four: Advanced Periodontitis
Bone loss is severe in this stage, and may result in the loss of teeth if immediate action is not taken.
Take Care of Your Health With Gum Disease Treatment
Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Gum Disease
Did you know that what you may have heard about gum disease is all wrong? Consider some of these common myths and misconceptions:
Myth #1: Gum disease can be cured.
This is half-true. If gum disease is caught during the first stage, gingivitis, it can be reversed. However, if gum disease has reached the periodontitis stage, it cannot be cured. The good news is that it can be managed with proper treatment.
Myth #2: Brushing and flossing will take care of gum disease.
While it is essential to maintain a thorough oral hygiene routine on a daily basis, you cannot treat or maintain periodontal disease from home. Periodontists such as Dr. Fraser have special tools to deep clean periodontal pockets and help you maintain your gum health.
Myth #3: I will lose my teeth if I have gum disease.
If you do nothing about your gum disease, you may lose your teeth. On the other hand, if you address your gum disease and start a periodontal maintenance regimen, you can save your natural teeth for a lifetime!
Myth #4: Only people bad hygiene get gum disease.
The facts are clear that gum disease happens to people from all walks of life, including those who are great about brushing and flossing regularly. Remember that periodontal disease can have a hereditary component.
Myth #5: Taking care of my periodontal disease is expensive.
Gum disease management can be quite cost-effective. In fact, it is much cheaper than waiting until your gum disease progresses and you need surgical intervention. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best course of action!
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Are your gums receding? Do you constantly have bad breath no matter how many times you brush and floss? It’s time to take action and solve your problem! We have successfully treated several patients with gum disease in the Atlanta area!