Despite better awareness and developments in dental technology and treatments over the last few decades, gum (periodontal) disease remains a common problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all American adults over the age of 30 will experience some form of gum disease in their lifetime. By the age of 65, the rate of gum disease jumps to over 70%.
If left untreated, advanced gum disease causes irreversible damage to the underlying structures that support the teeth and gums, and can ultimately result in tooth loss. The good news is that when diagnosed and treated early, gum disease can be managed and reversed.
At Manhasset Dental Arts in Manhasset, New York, our dentists and dental staff offer a range of preventive and restorative dentistry services for the entire family.
Here’s what you need to know about the three stages of gum disease, the symptoms, risks, and when to visit the dentist for treatment.
The stages of gum disease
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis is the result of inflammation due to plaque and tartar buildup under the gums. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are puffy, swollen gums that bleed when you floss and brush your teeth.
Other symptoms of gingivitis include bad breath, dark red, tender gums, and gum recession. Gingivitis is an early warning sign, and if treated in time it can be reversed and normally doesn’t lead to long term damage.
What causes gum disease?
There are a few factors that increase the risk of gum disease, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet
- Weakened immune system
- Hormonal changes
- Taking certain medications
The best way to protect yourself and manage your gum disease risk is to brush your teeth after meals and floss daily, avoid tobacco, eat a healthy diet, and visit the dentist every six months for a check-up and dental cleaning as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).
The next stage of gum disease after gingivitis is periodontitis. At this stage, the bone and soft tissue that connect and support your teeth and gums begin to erode and experience permanent damage. Periodontitis can be treated with a deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar pockets below the gumline.
At Manhasset Dental Arts, we use state of the art, non-invasive tools like LANAP™ (laser-assisted new attachment procedure) to replace damaged gum tissue without a scalpel.
Advanced periodontitis is the most serious form of gum disease. At this stage, the gums can become infected and begin to detach from the teeth, causing them to become loose and shift, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.
We can help you get your smile and oral health back on track. For more information about your risk of gum disease and the prevention and treatment options available to you, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Manhasset, New York.