What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. It is caused when bacteria are not removed through regular brushing and flossing, causing inflammation and infection of the gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can affect the bone supporting your teeth and in some cases, can result in the loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease occurs in three stages:
Gingivitis is the initial state of periodontal disease. It is typically characterized by red swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. An early sign of gingivitis is bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, even after rinsing. Gingivitis is a relatively mild form of periodontal disease that can be reversed if treated early enough. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis.
At this stage of periodontal disease, plaque hardens and turns into tartar that cannot be removed with brushing alone. Tartar must be removed with professional dental tools, or the tooth is at risk for further damage. Signs of periodontitis include increased bleeding of the gums that occurs while brushing (or spontaneously), and you may also notice gum recession resulting in lengthening of the teeth.
This stage of periodontal disease involves tooth decay and permanent bone loss. Deep pockets form between the tooth and gums, and may be filled with pus. At this state of periodontitis, your bite becomes affected, and permanent teeth may need to be removed.
Preventing Gum Disease
The early stages of periodontal disease can be reversed with proper brushing and flossing techniques at home plus regular dental visits. The earlier you treat periodontal disease, the easier it is to manage and can help to restore your gums with minimal to no lasting damage.
If you start to notice symptoms of gingivitis, contact our office at781-596-2220 for an examination.
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