Gum disease is a very common condition that many people are fearful of developing. These days it is important to know exactly what causes it. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease occurs when plaque is allowed to develop on teeth.
Normally this plaque is washed away with daily brushing, but when people do not follow a regular oral hygiene regime this does not happen. Gum disease occurs in stages, each of which has more serious repercussions than the last.
As a result it is vitally important to visit your Columbia dentist at the first suspicion of periodontal disease occurring. Read more below to find out if you might have the disease and take the appropriate actions.
The Common Symptoms Of Gum Disease
The most common first symptom of gum disease is blood appearing on the toothbrush as teeth are being brushed. There will usually be no pain associated with this. It occurs when the gums become inflamed due to an infection caused by the build up of plaque.
This first stage is known as gingivitis.
Another very common symptom of this condition is bad breath, which is caused by an increase of bacteria in the mouth. It is a mistake to ignore these symptoms, even though they are painless.
Gingivitis is very treatable, however if ignored it can develop into a more serious form of periodontal disease.
The Buildup Of Plaque
Plaque is easy to remove, but if it is left on teeth it will calcify to form tartar. This hardened substance can only be removed with a specialist treatment performed by a dentist. As the tartar expands it begins to push the surrounding gums back. This erosion of gum tissue is known as periodontitis.
As the gums recede pockets are formed which become a breeding ground for bacteria. At this point serious infection is likely. Furthermore, as gum tissue becomes infected it causes the destruction of the surrounding bone. This results in teeth becoming loose and falling out.
There is also the possibility that your teeth would have to be removed due to the root becoming exposed. Periodontitis is a serious form of periodontal disease, and one that requires urgent attention once suspected.
If You Don't Stop Gum Disease
If an infection is allowed to develop in the mouth as a result of periodontitis then it could ultimately result in a condition known as trench mouth. This is a very unpleasant condition whereby large, painful ulcers form on the gums. It typically results in bleeding gums and a constant bad taste in the mouth combined with halitosis. At this stage of gum disease the mouth will be in very bad condition. A patient will not only require corrective dental surgery, but also a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection.
It is important for people to regularly check themselves for gum disease. When caught early enough the symptoms can be reversed, but if left too late the expected outcome will be continual pain and the loss of teeth.
Your Columbia dentist will be able to assess the condition of a patient's mouth and advise the best course of treatment but the patient has to make that first appointment - he or she has to take the first step.
By maintaining a program of good oral hygiene periodontal disease will have no opportunity to develop in the first place so if you feel any of the above initial symptoms please call us today to make an appointment at 803-781-1600.