What Is Periodontal Disease?
When most people think of a beautiful smile, they think about white teeth free of decay. However, your gums are equally important to your oral health, both aesthetically and functionally. For this reason, periodontal (gum) disease is a serious oral health issue that can drastically affect your smile. At Lakewood Dental Arts, we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease because we want our patients to maintain a healthy, dazzling smile!
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Much like tooth decay, periodontal disease is caused by the harmful bacteria found in plaque, the sticky biofilm on our teeth. When plaque is allowed to build up, our immune system produces toxins to combat bacteria. Unfortunately, these toxins also target healthy tissues, causing the infection we refer to as periodontal disease.
The infection starts with the gums. It then spreads to all tissues that support your teeth. Without treatment, it will likely cause tooth loss for one or more teeth.
The first and most common form of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. This beginning stage of the disease is characterized by gums that are swollen and red. Unfortunately, the symptoms of gingivitis are subtle and progress slowly. If you suffer from gingivitis, your gums may also bleed easily during brushing and flossing.
Luckily, gingivitis is easy to treat and reverse with improvements to your daily oral hygiene routine. Regular flossing can get your gums back to a healthier state relatively fast. If gingivitis is left unchecked, it will ultimately progress to the second stage of gum disease, periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a much more serious and detrimental form of gum disease. At this stage, your gums will begin to recede, and the infection will spread to your connective ligaments and underlying bone. Periodontitis also causes deep periodontal pockets, spaces between your teeth, and gums that can trap food, debris and bacteria.
Eventually, periodontitis will cause irreversible damage to your tissues, increasing your risk of tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
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Maintaining proper periodontal health is one of the best ways to protect your smile! Call (562) 384-1091 to schedule your appointment today!