What is Gum (Periodontal) Disease?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or may have to be removed by a dentist.
Some of the signs and symptoms
- New spacing between teeth (caused by bone loss)
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums (loss of gum around a tooth)
- Tenderness or Discomfort
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away.
Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) – is the most effective way to treat gum disease. During SRP, the dentist cleans between the gums and teeth, down to the root. Your dentist may need to use local anesthetic to numb the gums and the roots of your teeth while the procedure is performed. It is important that individuals with gum (periodontal) disease have this procedure done.
The purpose of periodontal treatment is to ensure your teeth and smile last you a lifetime. More precisely, it will stop the progress of gum disease and strengthen your teeth’s support structure. In most cases, with appropriate treatments and your cooperation, it is absolutely possible to keep your teeth for your whole life!