Gum diseases are very common. In fact, around 75 percent of Americans will develop a form of gum disease at least once in their lives. Just like any other type of dental disease, gum diseases are best prevented rather than treated.
Gum diseases come in different forms — gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the milder form of gum disease and happens gradually. This disease is present in majority of adults and is characterized as the non-destructive inflammation of the gums. While gingivitis is not as serious as periodontitis, it is the most common precursor of the latter. For this reason, individuals should be wary as to whether they have gingivitis or not.
The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums, which are tender to touch. At the same time, people with gingivitis have increased tendency to bleed. In fact, it is common for patients to notice that their gums bleed when they brush their teeth or floss, even when they do it in the gentlest manner possible.
Treating gingivitis includes a deep cleaning procedure which is also known as the scaling and planing procedure. What this procedure does is to scale off the hardened plaque, or tartar, from the exposed dental roots and then smoothening out these root surfaces to prevent the adherence of plaque and their conversion into plaque.
Also known as the more severe form of gum disease, periodontitis is the destruction of supporting dental structures including the bones and the ligaments. While gingivitis is the common cause of periodontitis, this disease can actually exist without the person first going through gingivitis.
Because periodontitis involves the destruction of deeper dental structures, this means that a patient could lose his or her teeth without even a trace of cavity or tooth decay in any of these pearly whites. When the structures that hold the teeth in place are destroyed, loosening of teeth happens and the subsequent teeth loss.
Periodontitis is more difficult to treat compared to gingivitis. The disease is further complicated by bone loss which will require bone grafts. At the same time, extreme gum line recession will necessitate the pulling up of gum tissue so that there could still be significant amounts of tissue that will surround each tooth and keep them in place. This treatment is called flap surgery and is needed to pull up gum tissue.