Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is caused by bacteria in plaque. If not consistently removed, this bacteria builds up, infecting your teeth, gums, and eventually, the bone that supports your teeth, a common cause of tooth loss.
Gum disease has three stages of progression: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis; the longer the disease has to advance, the more damage it causes.
Gum disease can wreak havoc on your smile. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it's important to schedule an exam with your dentist immediately.
Treatment for gum disease depends on the stage your gum disease is in.
Early-stage gum disease (gingivitis) - treated with a deep cleaning to remove bacteria from gums and plaque and tartar from teeth. Your dentist may recommend an antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash. Flossing daily is also key to treating and preventing gingivitis.
Periodontitis - scaling, root planing, bone and tissue grafting, and antibiotics.
Advanced Periodontitis - typically requires surgery such as pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafting, bone grafting, and guided tissue regeneration.