Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect your jawbone and surrounding tissues. Because gum disease is usually painless and slow to develop, it can reach an advanced stage without you noticing any significant problems. If left untreated, gum disease can loosen your gums and bone structure and even lead to tooth loss.
At Meadowbank Dental in Edinburgh, we are committed to educating and assisting patients in preventing gum disease. Our associate dentist, Dr Sridhar N Rao, has a special interest in patients suffering from gum disease. He has been a part of the Meadowbank dental team since 2010 and holds a Masters in Periodontics, as well as extensive clinical and academic experience in treating gum disease in India and the UK.
Common causes of gum disease
Gum disease is a very common oral problem that affects most people at some point in their life. It is usually caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums. If plaque deposits are not removed by your dentist, your body will attempt to get rid of them with an inflammation response. As a result, your gums will become red, sensitive and swollen.
Gingivitis and periodontitis
Gum disease consists of two stages which are known as gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to the early stage of gum disease and only affects the surface of the gum, particularly the connecting tissue between the gum and the tooth. Gum disease at this stage is accompanied by swelling and bleeding gums and is completely reversible. However, if left untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis penetrates into the bone and the fibres that connect the tooth root to the bone. If left untreated it can lead to damaged gums and tooth loss.
Prevention is better than cure
Even if you follow a diligent oral routine at home, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth and gums professionally cleaned. Although regular brushing and flossing will keep plaque at bay, only your dentist can remove hardened plaque build-up. Moreover, regular dental visits will enable your dentist to identify any problems and prevent them before they require more extensive or expensive treatment.