Gingivitis is a bacterial infection of the gums that, if left untreated, will progress, spread and become more severe, eventually turning into periodontitis, infection of the structure beneath the gums. Once affected by gingivitis, gums will swell, become red and bleed easily at contact, such as after brushing. Although healthy gums should be firm to the touch, pink and not bleed easily, those affected by gingivitis will usually ignore or not treat this change seriously, even though it is a chronic condition that doesn’t spontaneously heal. The reason for this is that gingivitis on its own doesn’t cause a lot of discomfort or pain and is hence dismissed as a trivial problem that shouldn’t be treated by a health professional.
Real problems begin once gingivitis has been left untreated for several years or decades. While the teeth themselves may still appear healthy on the surface, underneath the gumline bacteria will diligently infect and reinfect the surrounding gums, eventually spreading to the supporting tissues below the gums. Still, those suffering from it may not take their condition seriously and refuse to go to the dental healthcare specialist. In such cases, gingivitis will become periodontitis.
Moderate to Advanced Periodontal Disease
In its early stage, periodontal disease will cause the gums to start receding and minor bone loss to occur. When approximately a third of the bone mass is lost, the disease has progressed to its moderate stage and when two thirds of the bone mass is lost, it’s deemed advanced periodontitis. At this point, even smiling or grimacing may become uncomfortable or painful. The body’s immune system will attempt, but fail, to heal itself, though usually having some success in suppressing the infection until the bacteria finally overwhelm the body’s defenses and the disease progresses to the next stage.
Healing periodontitis requires a number of fundamental changes in the patient’s behavior. It’s crucial to form a daily habit of removing plaque, which involves thorough and proper brushing and flossing. Steady daily maintenance of the oral cavity will already help tremendously in preventing periodontal disease. The next step is removing tartar regularly, which can only be done by a professional. Stop periodontal disease in its tracks by scheduling an appointment at my office and becoming tartar-free in no time.