Our Ridgefield dentist, Michael B. Schwarz, DMD, will explain that gum disease is a swelling of the gums that can progress to affect the bone surrounding and supporting your teeth. It’s caused by the bacteria in plaque, the colorless, sticky film that continually forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing, it will build up and the bacteria will infect, not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the tissue and bone that support your teeth. This can cause your teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist. Our Ridgefield dentist encourages you to schedule regular checkups so that early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition.
The three stages of gum disease include gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage and is swelling of your gums caused by plaque buildup at your gum line. If daily brushing and flossing doesn’t remove the plaque, it produces poisons that aggravate your gum tissue and you may see some bleeding during brushing and flossing. It’s in this early stage of the disease that damage can be reversed, since the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place are not affected yet. At the next stage, periodontitis, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are permanently damaged and your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line, trapping food and plaque. Proper dental treatment by our Ridgefield dentist, along with better care at home, can usually help prevent any further damage. If this is not the case, however, chronic or advanced periodontitis, the final stage of gum disease, will occur. This is where the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, your teeth can shift or loosen, and your bite may be affected. If aggressive treatment can’t save them, the teeth may need to be removed.
With proper flossing and brushing, the early stages of gum disease can often be reversed, but a professional cleaning by our Ridgefield dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove built up plaque that has hardened into tartar. Your teeth will be cleaned, or “scaled” (deep cleaning), to remove the tartar above and below your gum line. If your condition is more severe, a root planing can be done which helps smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth, making it harder for plaque to deposit there. Dedicated to detecting gum disease and treating it before it advances, Dr. Schwarz is well educated and skilled to take care of all stages of gum disease.