Gum Disease: Before and After
Oral care is often taken for granted by many individuals in the United States. The truth is that unless you treat your teeth and gums with care, they are likely to fall victim to a range of gum diseases. The two most common gum diseases experienced are gingivitis and periodontitis. A cosmetic dentist offers a number of dental procedures such dental bonding and dental bridges to counter such gum conditions.
Gingivitis is also often referred to as inflammation of the gums. In many cases, when a gingivitis condition is not treated swiftly it may develop into periodontitis. The early stages of gingivitis will involve bacteria build up in the form of plaque. Plaque is generally defined as the thin filament of bacteria that lines your teeth after a meal. When plaque is allowed to build up in the mouth, it weakens the surrounding gums. Over time, the irritation that the plaque causes the gums will cause gums to become swollen or inflamed. When this takes place, gums can be extremely prone to bleeding especially when pressure is exerted on them. Many individuals suffering from gingivitis will immediately notice that gum bleeding when they brush their teeth.
It is important to understand that while gingivitis has the potential to become more serious, it does not immediately affect the placement of the teeth. Although the gums may be severely weakened, they are still strong enough to hold teeth firmly in their respective sockets. Any damage caused from gingivitis is completely reversible.
If gingivitis is left untreated, there is large likelihood that the condition may develop into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition where the inner layer of the gum and the underlying bone begin to struggle with the teeth located on the surface of the gums. This creates gaps and pockets between teeth and gums that allow increased build of bacteria and dirt. If these areas are not treated immediately, the dirt and bacteria that has collected in these spaces, may cause gums to become infected. When this takes place, the body begins to attack the toxins that are produced by the bacteria with its own enzymes.
While the body tries to stave off these infections, it is the teeth that begin to suffer. The compounds in and around the gums begin to disintegrate and break down the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place. Over time, the degree of gum and bone disintegration will reach a point where teeth will no longer be held in place. Teeth will become very loose and susceptible to breakage. Individuals suffering from severe cases of periodontitis will inevitably begin experiencing tooth loss.
Causes of gum disease
While it is generally acknowledged that plaque is the number one cause of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, there are other ways in which these conditions may develop. Hormonal changes in the body especially during pregnancy, menopause or puberty may cause gums to become overly sensitive. Illnesses like diabetes and cancer severely damage the body’s immune system thereby jeopardizing the health of gums and teeth. Finally, poor habits like smoking and failing to brush also increase the risk of gum disease.