Gum disease is an infection, resulting in inflammation and bleeding of the gingival tissue (gums). It is caused by a build-up of plaque, a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing, and regular professional cleanings at our Port Charlotte dental office, it will continue to build up and create bacteria that will cause gum disease.
Gum disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that is localized to the tissue and is reversible. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are gum inflammation and bleeding.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease. It presents with the loss of attachment of the bone, periodontal ligament, and gum tissue. Periodontitis is not reversible but maintainable with dental care. Many patients have periodontitis and are unaware of it because there may not be any signs noticeable to the patient. Patients who do show symptoms present with red or inflamed gum tissue, gum recession, bone loss, and tooth mobility.
What causes gum disease?
Several factors can increase the likelihood that gum disease will develop, including:
- Genetic predisposition
- Poor home oral hygiene
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
How is gum disease diagnosed?
Our office uses digital radiographs and panoramic X-rays to measure bone levels. A full periodontal charting, which is a six-point measurement around each tooth, is done at every hygiene visit.
How can I prevent gum disease?
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which applies to gum disease in particular. It’s easy to prevent gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting our Port Charlotte dental office for cleanings and exams. If you are at risk for developing gum disease, we may suggest increasing professional cleanings in order to keep bacteria levels lower and keep your gum health stable.