Periodontal (gum) disease is a very common infection of the gums and surrounding bone of the mouth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and is associated with many chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as smoking and poor nutrition. The mildest form is also know as gingivitis, with common symptoms such as red, swollen gums that bleed easily. There is little discomfort at this stage so many people do not notice any symptoms at all. Usually the cause is inadequate oral hygiene practices, and typical treatment is professional evaluation and care along with improved home care by you.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious form know as periodontitis. At this stage, uncontrolled bacteria multiply and cause more destruction such as bone loss and gum recession. Pockets may form and allow even more bacteria to accumulate. The presence of gum pockets makes home care nearly impossible since these areas are not accessible by a standard toothbrush and floss. As the infection continues, bone loss increases and the teeth become loose and begin to spread apart. If left untreated for lengthy periods of time, the teeth may require removal. For this reason, it is important for a dental professional to properly evaluate your gums. Early detection means less invasive treatment to bring your gums back to health!