Gum disease sounds like something you may never have, but it’s more common than you think. In fact, one in two adults has some form of gum disease and the likelihood of developing gum disease increases with age. When examining gum disease, you can simplify it into two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a common gum disease that is reversible. Periodontitis involves bone loss and causes irreversible damage to the bone, fibers, and cementum of your teeth. Both are widespread diseases that can appear as young as adolescence.
Gingivitis does not always lead to periodontitis, but it can if left untreated. The progression of either can be rapid or slow and may be caused by poor oral hygiene, hormones, systemic illnesses, and may be exacerbated by many factors including smoking, stress, and pregnancy to name a few. So, what’s the difference and how do you know if you have one of these gum diseases?
Signs That You Have Gingivitis:
- Gums will be red
- Gums will appear glossy and swollen or puffy
- There may be pain associated while brushing your teeth
- If you notice bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth
Signs That You Have Periodontitis
- Gum lines will be receded on one or more teeth. This recession may be to the point of noticing a color differentiation (the cementoenamel junction) or to the degree of seeing a furcation present on the molars.
- Mobility will be present, and one or more teeth may be loose
- Calculus (tartar) may be visible on tooth surfaces
- Gums may have a punched-out or cratered look
- There will be bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth
You may have noticed that the bleeding of the gums when you floss or brush is a telltale sign of both types of gum disease. It’s easy to ignore, but If you see that your gums frequently bleed while you floss or when you’re brushing your teeth, that means it’s time to get to the dentist to discuss proper oral hygiene as soon as possible. In some cases, it can be as simple as adjusting the angle of your toothbrush and the technique of hugging floss around your tooth while flossing to overcome gingivitis.
How Will My Dental Office Determine If I Have Gum Disease?
At your dental visit, X-rays and a comprehensive exam that includes periodontal probing will tell the dental team if you have gum disease. X-rays will show if there is bone loss from periodontitis and bleeding on probing combined with attachment level findings will determine if gingivitis is present along with the severity of periodontitis. If you do have periodontitis, you will be seen at regular intervals to prevent any further damage to your teeth and gums.
Take charge or your health and set up an appointment with us here at Meadowmont Dentistry. If it’s been more than six months since your last dental visit, you really need to see the dentist, especially if you are suspecting that you show signs of gum disease. Call us today, and we’ll take care of your gums!