What is Gum Disease?
Healthy teeth held in their place by the healthy bone and the tissue surrounding them, together they provide support for your teeth to stay firmly in their place. Gums attach to your teeth just below the edge of the gums.
Gum disease effects attachment between the teeth and your gums.
It can range from very mild and show almost no signs to a severe condition when gums can become swollen, start to bleed, over time you may experience tooth and bone loss.
How Gum Disease Occur
Gum diseases begin with the formation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky substance that contains bacteria (germs). Plaque forms on your teeth daily and it attaches to your teeth just below the edge of your gums.
If plaque or bacteria not removed daily by brushing twice a day and flossing, plaque eventually turns into tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar is a calcification of bacteria on your teeth and once tartar starts to build on your teeth - the only way to remove it is by visiting your dentist.
When enough tartar builds up on your teeth, it can become infected and usually appears as red or swollen gums, that is the early stage of a gum disease, known as gingivitis. Click here to learn more about gingivitis.
Overtime, the bacteria that causes the infection, breaks down the gum tissue, which effects how your tissue attaches to your tooth and if left untreated it can also lead to the breaking down of the bone, at this point your gums may bleed during brushing, swollen gums can change colour, however gums not necessarily be sore.
When your bone starts to brake down around your tooth and your gum shrink, your teeth may become loose and will be in danger of falling out, at this point gum disease turns into Periodontitis.
Good to know FACTS
Good news is that gum disease can almost always be prevented!
It is treatable by your dentist
If and when it starts it can be reversed with an early treatment
Correcting some of your habits will prevent it in the future (brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and regular dentist visits)
At the early stages, gum diseases may not be readily visible. You might not even know that you have it. Your dentist is a trained professional that can help you with treatment of most gum diseases. Unless gum disease is in the late stages or you suffered a severe bone loss, your regular dentist will take care of your treatment. Otherwise, you will be referred to a Periodontist specialist for more advanced treatment.
During regular dental examinations, your dentist will use a tool called "periodontal probe" in order to measure the depth of your gum attachments to the teeth. The healthy gums attach just bellow the edge of your teeth. If that point of attachment where the teeth and gums meet is lower then normal, it is a sign of gum disease.
X-rays is another essential tool in the diagnostic process of your dentist. X-rays show how much bone is left around your tooth. Lakefront Family Dental, dentist office in Burlington equipped with latest digital X-rays, which enhances quality of the x-ray, making diagnostic easier and more accurate. Digital x-rays also have a bonus of very low x-ray exposure levels, so low that short flight from Buffalo to NYC will expose you to more radiation than our latest digital x-rays.
If you have gum disease, visiting a dentist and getting rid of plaque and tartar is a proper treatment. This allows your gums to get better and with proper hygiene reverse gum disease.
Check Your Gums
- Gums that are red and swollen around your teeth
- A change of colour of your gums
- Bleeding gums, blood on your toothbrush after brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath (just won't go away) - check our bad breath article on our blog for more info
- Teeth that are sensitive for no reason
- Puffy, shiny and sore gums
- A taste of metal in your mouth
If you notice some on any of these symptoms it is a good idea to see a dentist. It should be noted that gum diseases are the most common reason why adults loose their teeth.
Just remember, gum diseases are preventable and treatable at early stages. Saving your teeth should ALWAYS be your goal, as once a tooth is lost or extracted it will not grow back.
If gum disease is left untreated, you will always have sore and swollen gums, you will have an infection also known as abscess in between your teeth and gums, eventually leading to loss of your tooth.