What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the soft tissues surrounding your teeth. Tens of millions of American have this dental problem, many of whom don’t even know it. Learn more about gum disease so you can seek periodontal care in Seattle if necessary.

Stages of Gum Disease

Dental professionals divide gum disease into three stages:

  • Gingivitis is characterized by gum inflammation. At this early stage, you can reverse gum disease because connective tissues and bone have not yet been affected.
  • Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. Pockets begin forming between your teeth and gums where germs feed on food particles and plaque builds up. The damage to the supporting fibers and bone is irreversible, but with proper care, you can prevent further damage.
  • Advanced periodontitis is the final and most severe stage of gum disease. By now, the supporting structures around the teeth have been destroyed, and the teeth begin shifting and loosening. Without aggressive treatment, some teeth may fall out while others may require extraction.

Causes of Gum Disease

These factors increase your risk of developing gum disease:

  • Failing to brush and floss daily, which leads to plaque buildup at the gum line
  • Smoking
  • Never seeing the dentist (a professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar, the hard substance that plaque turns into if not removed promptly)
  • Having diabetes or certain illnesses such as AIDS
  • Experiencing hormonal changes
  • Taking medications that decrease saliva flow
  • Having a genetic predisposition

Symptoms of Gum Disease

You might have gum disease if you experience these warning signs:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Lingering bad breath
  • Tender gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Sensitive or loose teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Pus in the pockets between your teeth and gums

Treatments for Gum Disease

Your dentist may recommend a combination of treatments to reverse or control your gum disease:

  • Keep up with good daily oral hygiene to prevent plaque buildup, including brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once daily.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Schedule more frequent dental check-ups to ensure your condition doesn’t worsen.
  • Have intensive cleaning procedures performed called scaling and root planing. This cleans excess tartar deposits below the gum line and restores the shape of your gums to protect the roots of your teeth.
  • Schedule gum surgery involving skin and bone grafts to treat advanced periodontitis and help save your teeth.

You can treat your gum disease at Zen Dental Center, a leading provider of periodontal care in Seattle! Our expert team of tooth and gum care professionals will diagnose and expertly treat your condition for the best results possible. We also accept most forms of dental insurance, including Aetna, Delta Dental and Premera.

To speak with a friendly member of our staff about your oral health concerns, please contact us by calling 206-324-1100 today.


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