Gum disease is typified by inflammation and infection of the gums and structures holding the teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease symptoms are evident but often gum disease can present asymptomatically. That is why it is so important to have regular check ups and professional cleaning done by your dentist. He or she will be able to spot the early warning signs of gum disease and help you to preserve your oral health.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease usually progresses in stages, with the first stage being known as gingivitis. gingivitis is caused by a build up of plaque on your teeth, which encourages inflammation as well as the accumulation of more bacteria. If you have gingivitis, you might notice that your gums swell up and become red. They may bleed a little if you brush too hard.
If gingivitis is not treated and the plaque is left to accumulate on your teeth, your gum disease will progress to a more advanced state called periodontal disease. Periodontitis weakens the gum closest to your teeth.
If this happens it is possible for spaces to open up between your teeth and gums, and for bacteria and other debris to get trapped in those gaps. If you do not treat periodontitis, it advances further, causing your teeth to loosen and potentially fall out.
It is possible for the infection to spread to your jaw bone as well.
What Are The Most Common Gum Disease Symptoms?
As mentioned above it is possible and common to have gingivitis and not present with any symptoms. However, some patients may present with the following symptoms:
- Red or inflamed gums
- Tender or painful gums and soft tissue
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Persistently bad breath
- Receding gums may be noticeable if gum disease is more advanced
- Loose teeth may be noticed in more advanced stages of periodontal disease
Treating infections at the earliest sign is essential because they cannot self-resolve and will only get worse over time. Because it is possible to have gingivitis without symptoms, it’s important to visit your dentist twice a year. Not only will your dentist check the health of your gums and soft tissue, he or she will only clean your teeth below the gum line and remove any residual traces of plaque that your toothbrush can’t, to prevent it from turning into tartar.
If your gingivitis has progressed to a more advanced stage you may need to have your tooth roots scaled and planed. This procedure will remove infected material from the tooth roots and then smooth them out so that they can reattach to your teeth. If you have experienced tooth loss as a result of gum disease, you would need to consider tooth replacement options like dental implants, dentures or a dental bridge.
Brushing and flossing twice a day must be included in your oral health routine, in order to keep your mouth clean.
If you are presenting with any of the gum disease symptoms listed above it’s important to get professional help. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 8073 9218.