In addition to the health of your teeth, your gums are equally important. The biggest threat to their health involves an infection known as periodontal (gum) disease. Although it is preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 50% of adults have a form of it. Too often, the early warning signs go unnoticed, causing it to progress in severity. If advanced stages of the infection develop, it can drastically impact your oral and general health. To prevent complications, it is best to get treatment from your Lehigh Valley dentist at the first indicator of a problem.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection that occurs in the tissue due to bacteria found in plaque and tartar accumulations. There are 3 stages, each of which produces different symptoms.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
As plaque builds around the gumline, the tissue becomes inflamed and red. It is not unusual for the gums to bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth. As this point, the infection is reversible without causing any long-term complications. With a dental cleaning and changes to your home oral hygiene routine, you can prevent it from progressing.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, it will turn to periodontitis. It causes the supporting structures of your teeth to become damaged. Deep pockets from below the gumline, trapping additional bacteria. Now, you may suffer from bad breath and dental pain as your oral structures begin the breakdown. To clean the pockets and tartar accumulations, you need a need cleaning. In some cases, antibiotic therapy is recommended as well.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
The final stage of the infection occurs when the fibers and bones that support your teeth are destroyed. Now, your teeth no longer have the foundation they need to stay in place. This can cause them to become loose and fall out. You may see pus pockets on the gum tissue and experience oral pain. Not only will the infection need to be treated, but you will also need treatments to rehabilitate your oral functions, like dental prosthetics.
Protect Your Gum Health
Although gum disease is common, it can be avoided with the right care.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss in between each tooth every night.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
- Stop smoking.
Even with the best preventive care, the infection can still occur. At the first sign of swollen, red, or bleeding gums, call your dentist right away for periodontal therapy.
About Dr. S. John Salivonchik
Dr. S. John Salivonchik is a leader in the community for high-quality dental care. He provides complete services to help his patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health. In addition to general dentistry, he offers areas of advanced care, including periodontal therapy. If you have gum disease, do not wait until it is too late. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.