Gingivitis is an early gum disease and occurs when dental plaque builds up between the tooth and the gum border.
If gingivitis is not treated it can progress to Periodontitis. Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease where bacteria gets trapped between the gum and the tooth and causes further inflammation as well as destroying the supporting structure of the tooth ( ligament, gum and bone). These spaces are called ‘periodontal pockets.
The common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. However, there are associated factors that do not cause gum disease but make it significantly worse. These factors are smoking, hormonal changes (e.g.puberty, menopause, pregnancy), uncontrolled diabetes, stress and some medications as well as grinding and clenching.
The common symptoms are swollen gum, bleeding with brushing, gum recession, bad breath. Gum disease bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and cause heart problems and premature labor.
The consequences of not treating periodontitis leads to tooth loss and infection. Periodontitis is silent and could be painless even with advanced stages. It is important to get regular dental check ups for early diagnosis and treatment.
The dentist will examine your gums with a probe to measure the spaces between the tooth and gum. This will determine the health of your gums and supporting structures. If necessary, the dentist will instruct you in tooth cleaning techniques or may clean your teeth professionally to remove any plaque and calculus.