The Types of Gum Disease

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Dr. Alkhoury is a dentist in the Brentwood, CA area who is experienced in treating gum disease. Your smile needs care and attention to remain healthy. When oral hygiene is compromised, you become at risk of developing gum disease. While there is really only one type of gum disease, it can be broken down into different stages, all of which are treated differently.

The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It typically presents as inflammation of the gums and is caused by a build-up of plaque. When you do not properly brush or floss your teeth, plaque can build up around the gum line, trapping bacteria and leading to gum disease. One of the first signs of gingivitis is red gums. Normally, our gums are a pink color. Other symptoms include gums that bleed when brushed or flossed, chronic bad breath, and swelling. While all of these symptoms sound unpleasant, the good news is that gum disease in the gingivitis stage has not yet affected the bone structure and is highly reversible. With a quick diagnosis and treatment, oral health can be restored.

The second stage of gum disease, periodontitis, occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis affects the bone structure that supports the teeth. If you have gum disease in this stage, you may notice pockets developing between the teeth and the gum line. These pockets trap bacteria, leading to infection. Immediate treatment is necessary to halt progression of the disease.

If no treatment is completed, you will find yourself with advanced periodontitis. At this point, the trapped bacteria have begun to form deeper pockets and destroy bone tissue. Teeth become loose or even fall out. Treatment for advanced periodontitis is often very aggressive.

If you smoke, have diabetes, or hormonal fluctuations, you may be at an increased risk for gum disease. To prevent it from occurring, it is important to maintain daily oral hygiene and routine dental visits. If you keep your mouth clean and visit your dentist regularly, we are able to identify warning signs when they are still early enough to treat and reverse.

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