Gum disease has several stages, and the mildest stage, or gingivitis, is generally considered the most treatable. Frequently linked to poor dental hygiene, gingivitis can be treated and reversed through professional care and proper dental hygiene. Gingivitis can leave gums swollen, puffy, inflamed and fragile. They may bleed when teeth are flossed or brushed. Factors that can increase the risk of gum disease include hormonal fluctuations, diabetes, smoking, genetics, systemic conditions, stress, substance abuse, poor nutrition and HIV infection
Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is not treated, it can deteriorate into periodontitis. The plaque can spread along the gumline while the bacteria in plaque infect the gums. As the body attempts to fight the infection, gum, teeth and bones can be broken down. As the gums pull away from teeth, further pockets of infection can develop, which extends the area of destruction. Symptoms may be few and mild, but people with periodontitis may experience chronic bad breath, loose teeth and pain. Several types of periodontitis exist and may require specialized treatment in order to stabilize the gums and prevent further damage. They include:
• Aggressive periodontitis, which often attacks otherwise-healthy patients
• Chronic periodontitis, which is the most common type of periodontitis
• Necrotizing periodontal disease, which is linked to HIV and other conditions that weaken the immune system
A comprehensive periodontal evaluation should be performed on patients every year to identify early signs of gum disease. Our Los Angeles dental implant specialist may recommend preventative strategies or suggest treatment options at this evaluation. Good dental hygiene, professional cleanings and biannual dental checkups can also help you keep your teeth and gums in great shape. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.