It can start slowly. It’s silent, and it is often pain-free as it’s developing.
It’s also the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
It’s gum disease, and odds are if you don’t have it now, then you will have it in the future.
We hope and encourage you to take steps to prevent periodontal disease, but we also want you to be aware of the signs and symptoms. This way you will know when to make an appointment for treatment at Atlanta West Dentistry.
The Stages Of Gum Disease
Gum disease starts with bacteria that live inside your mouth. When they form plaque, they have a staging area to attack your gum tissue (and your teeth).
Here’s how gum disease progresses.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. This is considered a mild condition, and it can be reversed in many cases with proper care.
You can see the symptoms of gingivitis in your bathroom mirror. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth or if your gums appear red and swollen, then your gums are infected.
If you don’t address the problem, gingivitis can become periodontitis. At this stage, bleeding may become more frequent. Your gums may begin to recede or separate from your teeth. This can expose the roots of your teeth, which can allow plaque and tartar to form there.
The final stage is advanced periodontitis. By this point, you will know that something is wrong.
During advanced periodontitis, your gums may start to feel painful. It could be a pain you feel when you bite or chew, or it may be a lingering soreness. Your gum recession can get worse, allowing more plaque and tartar to form on the roots of your teeth.
You — or the people around you — also may notice persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
And in the end, your teeth can feel loose or even fall out.
If you haven’t sought gum disease treatment by this point, you definitely should call Atlanta West Dentistry as soon as possible.
Treating Gum Disease
The best approach to dealing with gum disease is prevention. The bacteria that cause periodontal problems are already in your mouth. It’s unlikely that you’ll get rid of them completely, but you can take steps to keep them under control.
This is why we encourage all our patients to brush twice a day, to floss once a day, and to get a professional dental cleaning and exam twice a year. Brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning all help to remove as many bacteria as possible, which reduces your risk of developing infected gums.
Many people develop gingivitis precisely because they have skipped some steps in their oral hygiene routine. Surveys show that fewer than half of Americans floss daily and that a majority of Americans have some form of gum disease. (That’s probably not a coincidence.)
The good news is that many people can reverse gingivitis just by following the recommendations mentioned above.
Once you have periodontitis, however, you will need professional help to get rid of your infection. You will be happy to know that our dentist office in Marietta, GA, also provides advanced periodontal treatment.
For many patients, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing combined with antibiotics is enough. For more advanced cases, we also offer laser treatments, which is less invasive than oral surgery and reduces your recovery time.