What Is Gum Disease?

What is Gum Disease?

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Treating Gum Disease at General Dentistry Chapel Hill


The most widespread gum disease -Periodontitis- involves inflammation of the gums, which leads to loss of bone surrounding the teeth and loss of teeth if the dental problem is not treated in time. Like most other dental diseases, the gum disease is initially painless for many and may not be detected. However dentists, are able to find out whether a person is having any gum disease, even at the initial stage, and take suitable action to prevent further damage to the teeth.

Most dental problems which are painless are usually ignored, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms of gum disease. Some of the main symptoms of gingivitis are gums which will bleed while brushing the teeth, bitter taste in the mouth, swollen or red gums, teeth which are loose, pain while chewing the teeth, teeth which are extremely sensitive and painful when eating cold or hot beverages and food. Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque, a thin colorless film formed on the teeth by the bacteria in the mouth. For healthy teeth the plaque should be removed regularly by brushing or flossing, if not it will cause tartar.

As part of the dental prevention practices, most dentists recommend that the patient visits them once every six months for a dental checkup so that any dental problem is detected at the initial stage itself. Over a period of time, the plaque will become tartar which cannot be removed by brushing, only a dentist has the tools to remove the tartar. There may be some bleeding of the gums, and the connective tissue and bone which are holding the teeth in their place are not affected. So gum disease at this stage is reversible if proper precautions are taken by the patient after getting advice from a dentist.

The next stage of gum disease is periodontitis where the bone and connective fiber for the teeth are damaged due to the buildup of plaque. A pocket is formed below the gum line, and the plaque is building up in the pocket. Improved oral hygiene, like flossing the teeth and professional help from dentists can prevent further damage to the teeth, bones. In the last stage of gum diseases, advanced periodontitis, the teeth become loose and may move in their socket. This can affect biting, eating and talking. In some cases, the teeth may also have to be removed. Proper brushing and flossing, using an antibacterial toothpaste can prevent plaque and gum disease.