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Gum Disease

Gum Disease – Periodontal Disease – Gingivitis – Washington, DC *

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Overview

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious issue that not only affects the mouth but the entire body. While gum disease takes on several forms, gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease and is also the mildest. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that bleed easily. These initial symptoms of gum disease can often be treated through deep cleanings at Washington Center for Dentistry, along with a more rigorous at-home routine. The dentists are also equipped to treat periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease.

Left untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss, as well as necrosis of bone in the jaw. This form of gum disease has also been shown to be a risk factor for heart disease, hypertension, respiratory problems, dementia, and complications with both pregnancy and diabetes.

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Treat and Prevent Gum Disease

Want to protect your gums from bacteria? It’s easy. Dedicated home care and regular visits to the dentist are the best protection to keep you healthy. Gum disease isn't pretty and you don't have to tolerate it. Our talented and experienced dentists at Washington Center for Dentistry have all of the tools to recognize, treat and prevent gum disease. Timely, early treatment creates the best chance for keeping your teeth for a lifetime! Whether you suspect that you have gum disease or if you have already been diagnosed, you should call us today to set-up an appointment.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease. It is also the most mild. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that bleed easily. These initial symptoms of gum disease can often be treated through deep cleanings at our Washington DC dental office along with a more rigorous at-home routine. When left untreated, gingivitis can quickly advance to periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that may produce symptoms such as:

  • A persistent bad taste in the mouth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gum separation from the tooth
  • Pus in between teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes to bite strength and tension
  • Oral pain

Left untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss as well as necrosis of bone in the jaw. This form of gum disease has also been shown to be a risk factor for heart disease, hypertension, respiratory problems, dementia, and complications with both pregnancy and diabetes. Treating periodontitis may require advanced dentistry services. Our general dentists will assess your periodontal issues and provide the treatments best suited to restore optimal oral health.

Stages of Gum Disease

Stage 1. Gingivitis – Curable with Minor Dental Procedures

Plaque and build-up of bacteria around the gum line lead to the earliest stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis.

Causes:
  • When you don’t brush or floss every day, bacteria grow and cause disease in the gum line.
  • Gums become swollen and inflamed.
  • Normal pink gums become red and puffy.
  • Sometimes brushing and/or flossing cause gums to bleed.
Prognosis:
  • The disease can be reversed, because bone and connections that hold teeth in place are not affected.
  • Removing plaque and bacteria helps the gum tissue heal, and gingivitis is reversed.

Stage 2. Untreated Gingivitis

Causes:

  • Gingivitis is not treated.
  • Conditions advance to periodontitis, which means bone and fibers that hold teeth in place are now damaged.
  • Spaces open between teeth and gum tissue forming pockets, or hollow areas, around the teeth where plaque and bacteria build up. This build-up destroys bone and structures that hold teeth in place.
  • Sometimes gum tissue recedes and creates gaps between teeth.
Prognosis:
  • Treatment must begin at once to prevent more damage and to prevent loss of teeth.

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis – Aggressive Treatment at Once to Save Teeth

Causes:
  • Gum disease has advanced to the final stage.
  • Uncontrolled growth of bacteria has destroyed the structures and bone that hold teeth in place.
  • Pockets around teeth are getting deeper and deeper.
  • Teeth become mobile and loose.
  • Shifting teeth that are loose can change the bite.
Prognosis:
  • Gum disease left untreated advances without stopping. Tooth loss is a likely result.

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