Many patients are concerned about keeping the teeth healthy and strong, but maintaining good gum health is just as important to the overall strength of the smile. The gums provide support to the teeth, which allow them to bite, chew, and function. If the health of the gums deteriorates, the strength and health of the teeth will also be threatened. As with tooth decay, gum disease is a progressive condition. Without restorative dentistry treatment to address oral health problems, gum disease will continue to advance.
Each stage of gum disease has its own unique symptoms and concerns. Experienced dentist Sharon B. Mateja discusses the stages of gum disease with her Rancho Cucamonga, CA patients, and recommends appropriate periodontal treatments to restore gum health and protect the teeth.
Stages of Gum Disease
When Dr. Mateja treats gum disease, she develops the most appropriate treatment plan based on how far the condition has advanced. Below are some brief descriptions of the various stages of periodontal disease, which is more commonly known as gum disease:
- Gingivitis: The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis develops when bacteria make their way beneath the gum line. Common symptoms of gingivitis include a darkening of the gum tissues (so they appear more red than pink), tenderness, bleeding when brushing, and slight inflammation.
- Periodontal pockets: If gingivitis is not treated, bacteria will continue to thrive beneath the gum line, likely causing an infection. When gum tissues are infected, they pull up and away from the teeth. This creates gaps of space between the gum line and the top of the teeth. This space, or periodontal pockets, makes it even easier for bacteria to reach gum tissues and the roots of the teeth. Aside from the symptoms of gingivitis, patients with periodontal pockets may also experience increased tooth sensitivity or oral pain.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis is fully developed gum disease. This infection of the gum tissues seriously threatens the foundation of the teeth. In addition to red, tender gum tissues and oral pain, it is not unusual for patients with periodontitis to notice that their teeth feel loose or unstable. This is because the gum tissues have pulled away from the teeth so much that they lack support and security.
Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of any of the stages of gum disease should seek professional dental treatment as soon as possible. Periodontal care is the only way to treat infection and stop the progression of gum disease to preserve the health of the teeth and gums.
Dr. Mateja offers periodontal treatment to eliminate infection from the gum tissues and promote the growth of new, healthy gum tissues. Dr. Mateja will always opt for the most conservative treatment techniques first. If treatments such as fluoride rinses or root planing and scaling prove ineffective, then she will consider more invasive treatment. However, in most cases, a deep cleaning, including antibiotic treatment, is sufficient to eliminate gum disease and encourage gum healing.
If you have noticed tenderness, swelling, or a reddening of the gum tissues, it is time to have your periodontal health evaluated so that any oral health problems can be treated before they advance further. Contact us at your earliest convenience to set up an appointment and learn more about the periodontal services offered by Dr. Sharon B. Mateja.