There are several stages of gum disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. With gingivitis gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. With professional care and follow up care at home gingivitis may be reversible.
When gingivitis is left untreated it eventually advances to periodontitis. With periodontitis plaque spreads below the gum. The plaque below the gum line is made of bacteria, that produces toxins. Your body attempts to rid itself of the toxins and breaks down the tissue and supporting bone where the bacteria is present. This causes gums to separate from the teeth causing pockets. These pockets grow while your body is attempting to rid itself of bacteria. Left untreated teeth may become mobile and have to be removed.
There are non surgical treatments as well as surgical treatments to combat gum disease. Non surgical treatments include dental cleanings with a hygienist and proper home care. Surgical treatments are: pocket reduction surgery, bone grafts, tissue grafts, and guided tissue regeneration.
Several factors are responsible for periodontal disease such as diabetes, smoking, stress, illness, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse and some medication use.