What causes Gum Disease?
The early stage of Gum Disease, called as gingivitis, starts with plaque. Plaque is a soft, sticky colourless film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. If you do not clean your teeth properly, the plaque builds up and the bacteria produce toxins and
enzymes that can irritate the gums. Gums can become red, swollen, sensitive and can bleed on provocation.
The plaque now becomes hard ,called as calculus or tartar, and appears as a black-brown band at the junction of the tooth and the gums. This now does not come off with routine brushing. It needs to be removed by the dental professional by what is called as scaling of the teeth.
If the professional still does not clean it, the infection spreads to deeper tissues and the surrounding bone causing periodontitis. A pocket is formed between the tooth and the gums. Here more of the bacteria collect, facilitating the progress of the disease. Further spread causes bone resorption and tooth dislodgement.
Finally there are pockets of pus-filled spaces accompanied by severe bad breath and loose teeth commonly known as pyorrhea. Here the dental professional has to treat this by doing a deeper form of cleaning called as root planning where the roots are smoothened so that the gums can heal better.
In the advanced stage this may not be enough and periodontal surgery may be needed to treat this disease. In certain conditions, bone augmentation may be done by adding synthetic bone graft material to improve the support of the involved tooth. Subsequent maintenance is extremely important to avoid further trouble. Only very advanced stages of gum disease are incurable.