Diseases of the gums (gingiva) are conditions that affect the tissues surrounding the tooth, known as the “periodontium.” The main symptoms of these conditions include swelling, redness, and sometimes pain. Untreated, these conditions can lead to the recession of the gums and even the loss of associated teeth.
One of the Most Common Reasons for Dental Visits
Scientific findings indicate that gum diseases are the second most common reason, after dental caries, for patients to visit a dental clinic.
Contributing to this issue is the fact that a large number of adults (over 30%) have the beginning of gum disease without being aware of its presence.
By regular dental check-ups, maintaining oral hygiene (including regular tooth brushing), and professional calculus cleaning at the dentist, gum diseases can be prevented. In case they already exist, their progression can be stopped.
What Is a Healthy Periodontium?
In healthy teeth, the tooth roots are situated in the jawbone. The gums cover the bone and wrap around the teeth, forming a collar around the tooth's neck. The gum tissue around the tooth's neck is pale pink and firm.
How Can You Recognize Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease can go unnoticed for years without pain and clear symptoms if regular dental check-ups are skipped. Patients may notice that the gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily.
However, there are situations where patients may feel only minor discomfort, allowing periodontal disease to remain hidden for a long time.
This problem is particularly pronounced in smokers, as nicotine affects blood vessels in the gums, resulting in reduced or absent bleeding in the oral cavity, thus masking the underlying disease.
Often, patients notice the problem only when the loss of bone mass around the tooth is significant enough to cause tooth mobility or when the gums begin to recede, leading to tooth sensitivity.
The disease is diagnosed by assessing the gingiva at several points around each tooth, combined with detailed X-ray images.
WHAT ARE PERIODONTAL DISEASES?
Periodontal diseases are infections caused by bacteria that affect the gum tissue and the supporting jawbone that holds the teeth.
What are periodontal diseases?
Widespread bacteria in the oral cavity accumulate on the tooth surfaces after eating or drinking. Within about 20 minutes of accumulation, these bacteria create a soft, sticky mass known as “plaque.” Plaque is typically removed through regular and proper oral hygiene, including tooth brushing.
However, if plaque is not effectively removed, it can harden and turn into dental calculus. Since dental calculus cannot be removed by brushing alone, it is necessary to visit a dentist for professional cleaning and polishing to eliminate all traces of it and, consequently, bacterial deposits. If the accumulated deposits remain uncleaned and are located near the gumline, they can lead to inflammation of the gum tissue, known as gingivitis.
MAIN SYMPTOMS OF GINGIVITIS INCLUDE:
- Bleeding gums during oral hygiene practices (brushing or flossing)
- Swelling of the gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
If gingivitis is not treated in time, it can progress to periodontitis. With the continued progression of bacterial infection, bacteria start spreading to the periodontal ligament and below the gumline along the surface of the tooth roots. This leads to the detachment of the gums from the teeth, creating so-called “periodontal pockets” – areas that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush or dental floss.
Over time, as dental calculus forms, periodontal pockets can become deeper, further worsening the existing problem. As a result of this process, the bone surrounding the teeth begins to recede and move further away from the source of infection, causing increased bone destruction, and the supporting teeth may lose their stability.
If left untreated, this disease can result in tooth loss. Untreated periodontal pockets in the gum tissue with a depth of 4 mm or more pose a risk for the further progression of the disease. Additionally, in smokers, gum bleeding may be less noticeable, as nicotine locally reduces blood circulation, thus reducing visible bleeding from the diseased gum tissue.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTITIS INCLUDE:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Increased bleeding of the gums
- Receding gums and increased sensitivity
- Formation of pus (abscess) accumulating beneath the gum tissue
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