An estimated half of the adult population in the US has some degree of gum disease, however the condition is 100% preventable, and in many cases, is reversible with good dental hygiene. Gum disease is categorized by 3 stages: gingivitis (early stage), Periodontitis, and Advanced Periodontitis. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding, swollen, red or tender gums. As gum disease progresses, pockets form around the teeth and the tissues and ligaments that anchor the teeth to the jaw begin to pull away. Very severe cases of gum disease often require antibiotic treatment for infection, a deep cleaning, and possible gum grafting to reverse gum recession.
Gum disease is the most common dental problem—and one of the most serious. Left unchecked, gum disease can cause you to lose teeth, and increases the risk factors for a number of other illnesses, including:
Gum disease is best treated when caught early, but that can be difficult since it’s usually painless until there’s a problem. The best way to identify gum disease in its early stages? Regular dental checkups.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums, periodontal ligaments and jawbone. It happens when a buildup of calculus (tartar) breaks the healthy attachment between the teeth and gums. Pockets form between the gums and teeth where bacteria collects and becomes infected. The infection can destroy gum tissue, and even jaw bone.
In the very first stages of gum disease, you may notice a little inflammation and bleeding gums, and maybe a foul taste in your mouth. This stage is called gingivitis. It’s typically painless, but it’s the first step toward a serious infection, and it’s the only stage of gum disease that is reversible. If you notice swollen, tender or puffy gums, or that your gums bleed when you brush or floss pay close attention and don’t hesitate to visit your dentist for a screening.
Once gingivitis has progressed to periodontal disease or periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease can cause irreversible damage to the tissue and bone surrounding your teeth.
Tell-tale signs of periodontal disease are gums red or purple in color, receding gums that are pulling back away from the teeth, bad breath, bleeding or swollen gums, pus between the teeth, or loose teeth. At this stage, symptoms can be treated, but the disease has now progressed to a chronic condition. If it continues to get worse, it’s likely you will lose your teeth unless you pursue aggressive treatment.
The best defense against gum disease is good daily dental hygiene. Brush and floss twice daily and never skip dental visits every six months. Our dentists will check you for any early signs of gum disease, and clean your teeth, removing any stubborn plaque or tartar.
Keep risk-factors in check, which include heredity, diabetes, smoking, alcohol use, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory illnesses, compromised immune systems, and the use of certain medications. Talk to your dentist if you meet one or more risk factors.
Gingivitis is reversible if identified and treated in time. If you are in the first stages of gum disease, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning to remove calculus and build up from under and around the gum line, creating a clean environment and an opportunity for your gums to reattach.
If your periodontal disease is very advanced, your dentist may suggest more aggressive treatment. Our skilled periodontists in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio can treat your gum disease through surgery, and bone and tissue grafts.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men are not only more likely to have gum disease (56.4 % of men vs. 38.4 % of women), but can suffer serious health effects. Gum disease in men increases the risk of:
We provide high-quality dental care in state-of-the-art facilities, which feature a modern look, coffee bar, and special play and treatment rooms for kids.
Our doctors and dental team provide a thorough professional exam, every time, taking special care to: