Did you know that gum disease affects almost half of all American adults aged 30 and over?
As a dental problem that is both very serious and extremely common, gum disease is one of the biggest threats to your oral health. To understand what it is, why it develops, and what the three stages are is to set yourself up for success when fighting it. Explore these critical facts about gum disease, one of the most prevalent and destructive dental problems in the world.
What is Gum Disease and How is it Caused?
Gum disease develops when the gums become infected. This occurs when plaque feeds on bacteria on your teeth and then gathers around the gumline. This area around the gumline is crucial because it’s the part that divides the teeth and gums, making it vulnerable to infection. When an infection develops in the gums, it makes them red and irritable, and pockets will begin to spread throughout the gumline.
Will Gum Disease Affect Your Plans to Get Dental Implants?
If you’re planning to get dental implants or another restoration procedure, then gum disease will very likely postpone those treatments. That’s because before investing the time and money it takes to complete a major procedure, it benefits everyone involved to ensure that the patient has a clean bill of health. Since gum disease can interrupt the progress of procedures such as dental implants or Invisalign, it’s almost always required to get that problem solved first.
Three Stages of Gum Disease
When you understand how gum disease progresses through the three stages, it becomes a lot easier to understand how it works and why treating it early is of utmost importance. While a mild stage of gum disease may result in mild irritation, letting it evolve into the later stages can cost you your teeth. Plus, the problem will get much more expensive to resolve over time.
In the mildest form of gum disease, your gums are likely to appear red and inflamed, especially when brushing or eating. Some pain or discomfort may be observed, and you’ll see infected pockets begin to form in and around the gumline. At this stage, the problem is easily treatable with a scaling and root planing procedure. When it’s left untreated, the symptoms will quickly start to get worse.
Since gingivitis has mild symptoms that often go unnoticed, it can easily evolve into periodontitis. At this stage, infected pockets become much more prevalent, and will spread throughout the rest of your mouth. Also a distinct factor of periodontitis is that the tissues which hold your teeth in place may suffer irreparable damage, making them weak and loose.
When the first two stages are left untreated, gum disease can evolve into its worst stage– advanced periodontitis. At this stage, all previous symptoms have intensified and your teeth may actually fall out. The damage will be severe and widespread throughout your gums and mouth, and expensive treatments and surgeries may be required to restore it to normal.
What Causes Gum Disease?
While bad oral care habits at home or skipping the dentist can create conditions that cause gum disease, there are other risk factors that may be beyond your control, such as heredity and age.
- Pregnancy and other causes of hormonal changes
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Frequent alcohol use
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Diseases that decrease your immune response
The Best Way to Stop Gum Disease is to Treat it Early
There are many reasons to never skip your dental exams, but one of them is the early detection of dental problems. When gum disease is caught early, all of it’s worst symptoms can be avoided and it can be treated with a simple, non-invasive procedure. This is a far better option than waiting until gum grafting or other surgical treatments may be required. For questions and info on treatment options that work, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Devang Shah in Dacula, GA.