What Are the Common Types of Gum Disease?

What Are the Common Types of Gum Disease?

Gum Disease (Gingivitis & Periodontitis)

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) does not develop overnight. The infection silently spreads and often arrives at an advanced stage before symptoms finally show up. Regular exams and cleanings can help you take preventive steps against the onset of infection.

Most patients may not be aware that gum disease can cause pain and tooth loss if left untreated. Proper oral hygiene and regular brushing and flossing play a crucial role in preventing the spread of periodontal disease.

When you notice that your gums are becoming soft, tender, and painful, you need to visit a dentist near you for assessment. This could be a sign of gum disease, a serious oral problem that could cause loss of teeth.

Gum disease is a common complaint among adults and it can be treated if caught early. It develops in stages and it is important to know them.

How Does Gum Disease Develop?

Regular brushing and flossing are important to preventing decay and gum infection. However, when you don’t follow the standard oral procedure and ignore professional cleaning, plaques begin to buildup. Plaque carries bacteria that affect the gums and causes inflammation. The more the buildup, the higher the risk of developing gum disease.

The problem with gum disease is that it is silent in the initial stages and that is why it can go unnoticed. By the time you notice the symptoms, the problem is usually more advanced in stages.

As mentioned gum disease is categorized in two:

1. Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum. It is a non-destructive type of gum disease. But, left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis and eventually the loss of teeth.

Gingivitis is the first stage and it is reversible if caught early and it usually goes away with proper hygiene and professional cleaning. In mild cases, you may not know you have a gum infection because it usually has no symptoms.

There is the main type of gingivitis:

  • Plaque-induced gum inflammation. This is the most common and it is caused by plaque buildup. Plaques are a thin film that accumulates on the gum line and plays host to bacteria. Other causes include medications, malnutrition, and systemic factors.
  • Non-plaque induced gum infection. This is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus. Genetic factors, allergic reactions, certain illnesses, and wounds are also triggers.

Regardless of the trigger, you need urgent gum treatment in Lansing, MI to prevent it from advancing.

2. Periodontitis

Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that affects the soft tissues. Without proper treatment, it can damage the supporting bone and cause tooth loss. Poor hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease, but there are other factors that may increase the risk:

  • Hormonal changes. The hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, puberty, and menopause cause the gums to be sensitive, increasing the risk of inflammation.
  • Certain diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV are linked to gingivitis because of the weakened immune system.
  • Medications. Oral health may be affected by medications, especially the ones that cause dry mouth.
  • Smoking, age, and poor diet are also linked to gum disease.

How We Diagnose Periodontal Disease

The best way to get periodontal disease diagnosed early is to ensure that you visit the dentist twice a year. During exams, the dentist or hygienist will:

  • Examine your gums for signs of inflammation or infection. The dentist may use a small ruler to probe and measure pockets in the gums. The normal depth for gum pockets is between 1 to 4 millimeters. These tests and physical examinations are painless, so there is no need for you to worry.
  • If the dentist wants further confirmation, he or she may recommend digital x-rays to measure bone loss in a specific area of the oral cavity.
  • The general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if required. A periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in treating gum disease.

Your periodontist is happy to answer questions and suggest suitable treatments depending on your case. We may also record details regarding your lifestyle, such as smoking habits or medications.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontitis can cause:

What Problems Can Develop with Advanced Gum Disease?

When left untreated, gum disease can cause several complications such as:

  • Gum recession

Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth begins to wear away or pull back. This exposes the root of the teeth and causes gum pockets or gaps between the teeth, making it easy for bacteria to buildup. If the bacterial infection is not removed, it damages the supporting bone and ultimately leads to tooth loss. Gum recessions occur gradually and it not easily noticeable.

  • Tooth loss

As the gum recedes, it will expose the root of the teeth causing the bacteria to eat away on the teeth and lead to decay. Also, periodontal disease damages the bone support which causes the teeth to loosen. Eventually, the dentist will have to remove the teeth to stop further damage.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Several treatments can be used to address the dental problem:

  • Scaling and root planing
  • Medication like antibiotics
  • Surgical treatments like flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, and tissue regeneration.

Helpful Tips to Keep Periodontal Disease at Bay

The best way to avoid gum disease is to prevent it from developing and spreading in your mouth.

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
  • Floss between your teeth to remove plaque; the dentist may also recommend a ‘water flosser’ to clean between teeth
  • Try to quit smoking

Final Thoughts

Gum disease is preventable with proper hygiene and regular dental assessment.

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