What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal Disease is the most common cause of tooth loss (in adults). It is an infection of the gums, ligaments and jawbone. The disease is almost completely painless and difficult to detect in its early stages.
The bacteria in plaque cause periodontal Disease. Plaque collects in pockets that form as spaces develop between gums and teeth. If plaque stays on your teeth longer than two or three days, it can harden into tartar (calculus), a white substance that makes plaque more difficult to remove and acts as a reservoir for bacteria. What’s more, you usually can’t get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing — you’ll need a professional cleaning to remove it. Your hygienist, will remove tartar and surface stains, examine teeth for decay and evaluate periodontal tissue for disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Early and moderate periodontal disease may exhibit few, if any, symptoms. However, warning signs of advanced periodontal disease may include red, swollen, or bleeding gums; persistent bad breath; permanent teeth that are loose or separating; or changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Stage 2: Periodontitis
If left untreated, gum infection damages bone and supporting tissues.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
At this stage, gums recede further and separate from the tooth.
Checking for Periodontal Disease
During each routine checkup, your dentist will examine you for periodontal disease. A periodontal probe is used to determine if there is any breakdown in the gum tissue attachment or if pockets have developed between your gums and teeth.
Regular biannual, triannual or quarterly hygiene visits as suggested by your hygienist will help to keep this disease under control.