Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease. The gums become inflamed, meaning that the gums appear red and swollen; they will often bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of plaque along the gumline which usually results from ineffective oral hygiene. Patients usually do not have any discomfort or pain at this stage of disease. Gingivitis is completely reversible with a professional cleaning and good oral home care. Often patients see an improvement after they have a cleaning in our office and begin using an electric toothbrush to help brush more effectively.
Causes of gingivitis include smoking, stress, genetic predisposition, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, pregnancy, certain medication use and systemic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. You can read more about some of the systemic links to gingivitis here.
Periodontitis (or Periodontal Disease)
Periodontal Disease is a more severe form of periodontal disease that occurs if gingivitis is left untreated, oral hygiene is poor, and/or you have a genetic predisposition. A film of bacteria called plaque accumulates at the gumline and sticks to the teeth. Over time the plaque continues to grow and spread below the gumline. Plaque hardens into calculus (also known as tartar), a hard substance that attaches to root surfaces and can only be removed by a professional cleaning. When calculus builds up over time (due to inadequate brushing, infrequent visits to the dentist or other factors) bacteria will begin to irritate your gums and the gums separate from the teeth creating deep pockets that become infected with bacteria. Without treatment periodontitis can damage the attachment of the teeth to the bone and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Patients usually do not have discomfort or pain as this disease progresses and spreads. Eventually teeth may become loose from the loss of supporting bone and gum tissue and may have to be removed.
At Valencia Periodontics we use a variety of therapies and techniques to control periodontal disease by treating the diseased gum tissue and regenerating lost bone around teeth. You can learn more about Bone Regeneration here. The earlier periodontal disease is caught and treatment is started, the better your prognosis and the better the chances that we can save your teeth.
Schedule your appointment for a complete periodontal evaluation today. Early intervention helps keep your smile and body healthier and helps you keep your teeth longer! Call us Now