Dental Clinic in Redwood City, General Dentistry
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup the dentist will measure the depth of the shallow v-shaped pocket (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the pocket increases in depth. Generally, the more severe the disease the greater the depth of the pocket.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
It is treated with regular cleaning and frequent dental visits every 6 months and consistent home care.
If gingivitis is not treated promptly, the gum disease worsens and advances to a periodontitis. At this stage, gum disease is not reversible. The tissues that attach the tooth in the socket are affected …etc. The treatment for that is a deep cleaning followed by frequent maintenance visits every 3 to 4 months.