If you are concerned about sleep apnea, you should seek treatment right away. This condition causes you to stop breathing while you are asleep. The effects can be severe, including the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It can even be fatal. Your general dentist can help you overcome this condition and breathe…
Signs of Gum Disease: What Your Mouth Is Telling You
Scheduling regular dental exams and practicing good oral hygiene habits are essential in order to prevent gum disease. This condition is caused by plaque buildup and bacterial infection. If caught early on, it is possible to reverse the damage. However, if left untreated, it can progress and lead to long-term and devastating dental issues. It is important to understand the signs of this problem so proper treatment can begin right away.
Dangers of gum disease
Diseased gums are not uncommon, but it is imperative to catch it in the early stages. Over time, it can lead to infection of not only the gums but also the teeth and jaw. This causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out, and the jawbone also loses its structure.
The bacteria that cause this disease can also get into the bloodstream, which means they can affect other parts of the body. People with advanced stages of gum disease are more prone to suffer from heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
Stages of gum disease
There are three stages of gum disease, and the signs and symptoms get more severe with each one.
In this early stage, symptoms may be mild or even non-existent. Plaque that builds up along the gumline attracts bacteria, which leads to inflammation of the gum tissue. Signs of gingivitis may include slightly red and swollen gums or bleeding after flossing or brushing.
At this stage, the bacteria have not moved to the bone or tissues, so any damage can be reversed. Treatment usually includes a professional cleaning, root scaling, and regular brushing and flossing.
If gingivitis is not properly treated, periodontitis is the next stage. At this point, damage begins to occur to the supporting bone and tissues. The bacteria penetrate between the gums and teeth, which cause gingival pockets. Manifestations at this phase of gum disease include:
- Pronounced gum inflammation
- Gum recession
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bone loss
At this stage, the disease is irreversible. In the earlier periods of periodontitis, treatment may include tooth scaling and planing, which does not reverse the disease but does prevent further damage. In later stages, when moderate bone loss occurs, surgical treatment may be necessary to stop the progression.
In this final stage, saving the affected teeth is almost impossible due to the severe infection. Signs include constant bad breath, exposed roots, pus drainage, severe bone loss, and drifting teeth.
If the teeth have not fallen out on their own, extraction may be necessary so the dentist can clean out the infection. Gum surgery is also often performed. This includes grafting of the soft and hard tissues.
People who suffer from gum disease must take appropriate steps right away to prevent further damage. Because symptoms may not be present until the infection has progressed, it is important to get regular dental exams so the dentist can diagnose the early stages and recommend the necessary treatment.
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