Gum disease, an inflammation of your gums, has three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is caused by bacteria in plaque. When plaque hardens and isn’t removed regularly with cleanings, it evolves into tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque can continue to form on the tartar. This buildup and layering of plaque and tartar can infect your gums and teeth. The gum tissue and bone that support the teeth can become impacted and the three stages of gum disease may evolve.
Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. Symptoms include gum inflammation, redness in the gums, or bleeding while brushing or flossing. This stage of gum disease is reversible because the bone and connective tissue around the teeth haven’t been affected yet.
Periodontitis: In this second stage of gum disease, the bone and connective tissue are irreversibly damaged. The gums form a pocket below the gum line and plaque can easily penetrate further. There are options for treatment, including professional periodontal therapy, that can prevent further damage to your gum tissue.
Advanced Periodontitis: The fibers and bone of your teeth are destroyed in this final stage of gum disease. This causes your teeth to shift and loosen, changes your bite, how you eat, and how you communicate. Aggressive periodontal therapy is an option to save your teeth, but if that doesn’t work, your teeth may need to be extracted by a dental specialist.
There are several ways you can prevent gum disease and save yourself the treatments and stress:
- The easiest task is proper brushing and flossing. Twice a day can go a long way in preventing bacteria and plaque buildup.
- Use an antibacterial toothpaste and/or mouthwash to further kill bacteria and plaque.
- Regular dental cleanings every six months will remove any buildup of tartar to prevent gum disease development.
Pine Tree Dental Care offers the dental services you need to keep a clean and happy mouth! Gum disease is easily preventable and we’d love to offer you the services and oral health tips to keep it at bay. If you are not already a Pine Tree Dental patient and are looking for a dentist in Falmouth or Southern Maine, please give us a call today.