Most people have heard of gingivitis and gum disease, but some of our patients don't realize that they are really the same thing. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and while it's a fairly mild form of the condition, it's still something that you need to be concerned about.
If gingivitis isn't treated, it progresses to the next stage of gum disease, and things become more serious. Let's take a look at how gum disease progresses so you can see why it's so important to deal with gingivitis as soon as you can.
Mild gum disease sets in if you don't brush and floss regularly. The same bacteria that cause cavities affect your gums. Over time, you'll start to notice that your gums bleed when you brush them. They may also start to pull back from your teeth, exposing more of them. The inflammation caused by gingivitis isn't always painful, so it's important that you don't rely on pain as an indication of gum disease.
If untreated, gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. Here, empty pockets begin to form in the gums. Plaque and other debris can get caught in these pockets, leading to even worse inflammation. The tissue and even bone in the gums and mouth can begin to deteriorate. The roots of your teeth may even become exposed, leading to loose teeth and more severe cavities.
If it still goes untreated, periodontitis enters its advanced, final stage. Here, the damage is much worse. The bone that supports your gums and teeth is badly damaged. Teeth may fall out or shift, causing changes in your bite.
What can you do? While brushing and flossing regularly will help with gingivitis, you'll need to come see us for periodontitis. Call us today to discuss gum disease and how it can be treated.