Gum Disease – Understanding Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is a potentially serious infection of the gums and soft tissues that surround your teeth and help hold them in place. The early stages of gum disease are reversible with strict oral hygiene. You may not know when your gum problems first started because there are often no early symptoms. Advancing gum infection produces sore, bleeding gums, and pain when eating. If the inflammation and infection isn’t treated, the supporting connective tissues and bone eventually become involved. If this occurs, you may lose your teeth.
Gingivitis Can Progress to Periodontitis
Infection and inflammation of gums is usually a direct result of poor oral hygiene at home. If you don’t clean your teeth, a sticky film called plaque builds up on them. Eventually, it hardens to form tartar that only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove. The bacteria contained in plaque and tartar irritates and inflames gums. Your dentist calls the early stage of gum infection gingivitis. It does not yet involve any loss of soft tissue or supportive bone, and it is often reversible through good oral care. If left untreated, gingivitis advances to the more serious condition known as periodontitis. Once it reaches this stage, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth and form pockets that fill with infection. Eventually, the body’s immune response and bacterial toxins start to break down and destroy the bone and connective tissue. As the loss of supporting tissues progresses, teeth loosen and fall out or require extraction.
Periodontal Disease Is Not an Inevitable Part of Aging
The suffering caused by gum disease and tooth loss is not caused by normal aging. Most periodontal disease is preventable with thorough twice-daily brushing, flossing, regular dental appointments and professional cleanings. See your dentist for early recognition and treatment of gum problems.
To learn about our family dentistry practice in South Bend, call The Dental Center of South Bend today at (574) 367-7000 or make an appointment.
The Dental Center offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 4 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of South Bend, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of South Bend.