Gum disease means infection or inflammation of the tissues that surround the teeth. It has also been linked to heart disease and strokes. It is a common dental problem that may result in tooth loss. Gum Disease is an infection in the gums surrounding the teeth. This is also one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults. There are two major stages of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the most common types of adult gum disease. Gums shrink with age, exposing the tooth to decay or infection. Gum disease involves the inflammation of the gums and then infection.
Gum disease can usually be prevented by good and careful teeth cleaning and regular cleanings or scale and polishes with your dentist or hygienist. Decayed teeth, which hold bacteria that can spread throughout the body, also can make a child more susceptible to other problems, such as ear and sinus infections. Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Gum disease begins with plaque, which is always forming on your teeth, without you even knowing it. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main stages of gum disease. People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s.
Gum disease is a condition that causes inflamed gums, rotting them slowly away, and, if left untreated, then it can destroy the whole structure of the mouth and jaw. Gingivitis is actually a gum infection. Early stages will appear as swollen, red, sensitive teeth and gums, and it can progress rapidly from there. Once it is contracted, it can become a chronic problem for some people. In later stages of it, a puss-like discharge can appear on the gums.
The causes of this illness can vary. The number one cause is poor dental hygiene. What happens in this case is that plaque builds up from infrequent brushing, and in time, turns into tartar. The tartar is an irritant to the gums, which then causes the swelling and irritation. Smokers are at least twice as likely to get some kind of gum disease.
There are different types of gum disease:
- Gingivitis: – Gingivitis is the type of gum disease that is on its early stage. Gingivitis is frequently caused by poor oral hygiene which eventually will lead to the build up of plaque and tartar. Gingivitis, if diagnosed early, can be treated and reversed. Red, swollen and puffy gums are indications of gingivitis. A lot of factors contribute to this type of gum disease. Diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, stress, poor nutrition, hormonal fluctuations and certain medications are just a few of the factors. If gingivitis is left untreated it will lead to other types of gum disease that is on the advanced stage.
- Aggressive Periodontitis: – Aggressive periodontitis is one of the types of gum disease that experience painless gingival inflammation and damage of the bone around the teeth. Others tend to consider the painless bleeding of the gums after cleaning the teeth as insignificant. This is considered one of the indications of this type of gum disease.
- Chronic Periodontitis: – Chronic Periodontitis is one of the types of gum disease that results in the inflammation within the attachment fibers and supporting bone damage. This type of gum disease is common among adults but it can also occur at any age. The progress of the attachment loss of this type of gum disease is commonly slow but episodes of swift progressions may tend to come about.
Treatments for Gum Disease
Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Some treatments for gum disease are surgical. Some examples are:
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery: – During this procedure the gums are lifted back and the tarter is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide.
- Bone grafts: – Involves using fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone to replace bone destroyed by gum disease. The grafts serve as a platform for the regrowth of bone, which restores stability to teeth. New technology, called tissue engineering, encourages your own body to regenerate bone and tissue at an accelerated rate.
- Soft tissue grafts: – This procedure reinforces thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded. Grafted tissue, most often taken from the roof of the mouth, is stitched in place, adding tissue to the affected area.
- Guided tissue regeneration: – Performed when the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed, this procedure stimulates bone and gum tissue growth. This keeps the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow to better support the teeth.
- Bone surgery: – Smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters. This makes it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.
Non-surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
- Professional dental cleaning: – During a typical checkup your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar (plaque that builds up and hardens on the tooth surface and can only be removed with professional cleaning) from above and below the gum line of all your teeth.
- Scaling and root planning:- This is a deep-cleaning, nonsurgical procedure, done under a local anesthetic, whereby plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth. Smoothing the rough spots removes bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Scaling and root planning is done if your dentist or periodontist determines that you have plaque and calculus under the gums that needs to be removed.