What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a progressive infection in the mouth that may lead to tooth loss and also have damaging effects on your health. Many patients overlook symptoms of periodontal disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, inflamed gums and loose teeth. This infection starts when plaque buildup around the teeth and leads to tartar buildup below the gum line. Bacteria around the teeth and gums cause an infection and periodontal pockets form around the teeth which means the spaces around the teeth attract even more bacteria and debris. This is why early treatment of gum disease is so important.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can be identified by inflamed gums and bleeding when brushing the teeth. It occurs when plaque and bacteria build up around the gum line. Fortunately, this stage of periodontal disease can be reversed.
If left untreated, the condition progresses to periodontitis where bacteria starts to destroy supporting fibers and bone that hold the teeth in place. At this stage, you may notice gum recession or gaps forming between the teeth. If this condition continues to progress, pockets formed in the previous stage become deeper and the teeth may become loose or even fall out.
Health Risks and Systemic Effects of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of health problems, including systemic health conditions, since the infection in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body. Health risks include:
- Heart Disease
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- Low Birth Weight Babies
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Memory Loss
- Preterm Delivery
Dr. Michael Kelley, Dr. Ramin Rayhan, and Dr. Richard Nejat are trained to provide advanced treatment for periodontal disease. We perform the LANAP® protocol, an FDA-cleared laser treatment using the PerioLase® MVP-7™. This minimally invasive treatment can effectively treat an infection in the gums without damaging the healthy gum tissue. Other options include:
- Scaling and root planing therapy
- Osseous surgery
Learn more about treatment options for inflamed gums and periodontal disease by scheduling your appointment at Clock Tower Dental today.