Over 50 percent of all Americans over the age of 30 are affected by gum disease to some degree, and most don’t even know it! Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of your bone, teeth and gum tissue. Without timely treatment from a skilled periodontist, gum disease can cause a deterioration of your oral health, which will eventually lead to tooth loss and a spread of infection to other parts of the body. Research has also linked the bacteria found in gum disease to systemic health concerns, such as heart disease, stroke and dementia. If gum disease is caught and treated at its earliest stage, gingivitis, most of these concerns can be prevented, but if left to progress, gum disease will advance to periodontitis or advanced periodontitis. This stage of gum disease can never be cured, only maintained with routine periodontal maintenance visits.
Gum Disease Symptoms to Look Out For
Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
Tender, swollen, red gums
Receding gum tissue
Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Recurring bad breath
Loose or shifting teeth
Three Stages of Gum Disease
The first stage of gum disease is characterized by red, swollen gums, and light bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Typically, this stage of gum disease goes underdiagnosed because these symptoms are not painful and seem commonplace. This is all caused by bacteria found in the plaque and tartar that have built up on the teeth and inflamed the gum tissue. Gingivitis can be treated to halt the progression to more advanced forms of the disease through deep cleaning of the bacteria, usually through scaling and root planing.
When gingivitis has been left untreated, it will advance to periodontitis, which causes further concerns like gum recession, bad breath and tooth sensitivity in addition to the gingivitis symptoms. At this stage, the bacteria and buildup will cause the gums to pull further away from the teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots beneath as well as begin the deterioration of the jaw bone. Periodontitis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled and maintained.
The final and most severe level of gum disease, advanced periodontitis causes irreversible damage to your oral structures, including gum tissue, jaw bone and teeth. Patients affected by advanced periodontitis may experience tooth loss or loose, shifting teeth. Advanced treatment, like osseous surgery, is necessary to control the disease and halt its harmful effects on your mouth. Following treatment, you will need to visit us every three months for routine periodontal maintenance in order to ensure the disease does not return.
Meet Our Gum Disease Specialist
If you are experiencing any of the gum disease symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our periodontist, Dr. Alfred Lopez in our Albuquerque, NM office. Dr. Lopez has been offering periodontal care in his office for over three decades and has the skills, technology and experience to treat all stages of gum disease effectively. We commit to over 100 hours of continuing education each year which has given us an in-depth understanding of gum disease. Our periodontist and team can diagnose, treat and maintain your mouth no matter what state it might be in, even if you think your mouth is a hopeless case. If gum disease has severely damaged your oral structures, we offer effective bone grafting and dental implant placement to get you back to a complete, functional and aesthetically pleasing mouth.