Gum disease is a common condition among adults in the United States, affecting over half of individuals over the age of 30. While common, it’s not something that can be ignored. Gum disease advances in stages and without proper treatment, it can negatively impact your oral health and overall wellness, even leading to permanent tooth loss. Below, the dental team at Smyrna Dental in Smyrna, GA explains what gum disease is and its various stages.
Gum disease is inflammation of the gum tissue caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, colorless substance that forms when bacteria are not effectively removed from the teeth through brushing and flossing. Over time, the buildup will begin to affect more than the gum tissue and will eventually affect the bone that supports the teeth.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the mildest form of the condition, preceding periodontitis. In this stage, the condition can be controlled before causing irreversible damage. Gingivitis is caused by plaque building up around the gum line, causing symptoms such as red, inflamed gums, bad breath (halitosis), or swollen, red gums. The bones and connective tissue are not yet affected during Gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it will begin to advance to the next stage, known as periodontitis. During this stage, the bacteria will begin attacking the bone and connective fibers that keep your teeth firmly in place. You may start noticing pockets developing below the gum line which become traps for additional food particles and bacteria
In the final stage of gum disease, the entire support structure for the teeth including bone, gums, and connective tissue becomes destroyed. Teeth will begin to feel loose or shift out of place and your bite will become affected. At this point, only aggressive treatment and dental restorations can improve the health and appearance of the smile.
The good news is about gum disease is that it’s almost entirely preventable with good oral hygiene and routine dental care. If you make a habit to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist every six months for an exam and cleanings, we can identify the early signs of gum disease when treatment is fast and effective. To book an appointment at Smyrna Dental, call us at (678) 374-3764.