Gum disease—also known medically as periodontal disease or periodontitis—is a condition that affects the tissues surrounding the tooth. It is often characterized by inflammation and bleeding, and is the leading cause of tooth loss in today’s society.
If you believe you have gum disease and live nearby, have your teeth checked by a local dentist in Waterford. This is because once the full repercussions of it set in, the bacteria can damage the connective tissue and bone—which eventually leads to tooth loss.
Gingivitis vs. Gum Disease: What’s the difference?
You’ve probably heard of gingivitis before and thought that it’s probably just another name for gum disease. The truth is that gingivitis is the precursor for gum disease—and while it does exhibit many of the same symptoms, there are quite a few differences!
Gingivitis generally starts from a buildup of plaque around your teeth that irritate the surface of your gums, making them bleed more easily. You probably won’t feel any pain, but the blood will show up when you brush your teeth. The main difference between gingivitis and full-blown gum disease is that with the former, you don’t have permanent bone and tissue damage, and your teeth are still firmly anchored in place.
For this reason, it’s crucial to consult a dentist near you as soon as you see blood on your spit while brushing your teeth. This allows your dentist to take appropriate measures to stop the development of gingivitis and treat your gingivitis.
What are the causes of gum disease?
Gum disease doesn’t just appear and disappear on its own. Certain habits will cause gum disease, and they won’t go away until you make some changes or find dental treatment. Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:
Inadequate dental hygiene
The foremost cause of gum disease is improper dental hygiene. Plaque formation is a natural byproduct of food consumption. However, if not removed through daily brushing and flossing—and at least a biannual professional cleaning from a dentist—the plaque will cause gingivitis and gum disease eventually.
Hormonal and metabolic changes
Certain chemical changes in your body can also cause gum disease. Changes such as hormonal and metabolic ones that women experience during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may alter the organic balance in one’s mouth. The good news is that such changes are usually temporary and will go away on their own.
That being said, the symptoms of gum disease will still need to be addressed by a local dentist.
Chronic medical conditions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research has revealed a connection between certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and kidney diseases. While causality has not been established, the research recommended that the correlations should be considered for patients with multiple morbidities.
For example, dentists administering treatment for gum disease should also see if the patient is also suffering from chronic diseases, such as type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. This helps the dentist understand the root cause of gum disease and adjust treatment accordingly.
For treatment options, most dentists will do a professional cleaning and administer antibiotics to treat bacteria already lodged within pocketed areas of the gum. This typically restores the gums to full health. However, in more severe cases, dentists may employ tissue regeneration, a technique involving grafting the bone to stimulate regrowth.
Both methods have been proven to be effective in treating gum disease. However, gum disease will come back if the patient does not develop healthy oral habits. Therefore, the best way to get rid of gum disease is proper tooth brushing and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning.
If you’re looking for an Ann Arbor dentist, then the Dental House is your best bet! We offer free examinations and x-rays for new patients. Our services include everything related to oral care, from simple dental checkups and teeth cleanings to full-mouth reconstruction. Contact us today to set an appointment!