Gingivitis - The First Stage of Periodontal Disease
The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth.” Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called a “sulcus.” In healthy teeth, this space is usually three millimeters deep, or less.
Periodontal diseases are infections that attack the tissues and bone that support teeth. As the tissues become damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than three millimeters deep. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the pocket depth and bone loss. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow, which makes it very difficult for you to practice effective oral hygiene. Left untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care.
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. If the disease is caught very early (gingivitis), and no damage has been done, your may simply be given instructions on ways to improve your daily oral hygiene. A little more time spent with your toothbrush and your floss can make all the difference!