If you’ve been skimping on brushing and flossing, you might notice extra plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. When left untreated, plaque and tartar can lead to more than just an unsightly smile. They can also cause gum disease, which occurs when bacteria overruns your teeth and gums. Gum disease can, in some cases, progress to advanced periodontal disease, a serious condition that can produce some very real health problems. To motivate yourself to brush and floss properly each day and protect your dental health, arm yourself with information on the stages of periodontal disease.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
STAGE ONE: GINGIVITIS
Gingivitis is a tricky condition. As one of the earliest stages of periodontal disease, it’s difficult to detect, but it can easily develop into something more problematic. Signs of gingivitis include bad breath and bleeding gums, especially after flossing. The good news? Gingivitis is both treatable and reversible.
If you notice symptoms of gingivitis, make sure to visit your dentist right away. Your dentist and hygienist will be able to evaluate the extent of your gingivitis and offer tips to prevent full periodontal disease. That might include checking the depth of your periodontal pockets, which are usually between one and two millimeters deep. If your dentist notices early signs of gingivitis, you can almost always reverse the condition with good oral hygiene, which starts with proper brushing and flossing in addition to regular dental checkups.
STAGE TWO: EARLY PERIODONTAL DISEASE
When bacteria overwhelm the gum tissue around your teeth, the tissue gets inflamed. That can lead to bleeding, receding gums, and, eventually, bone loss. Early periodontal disease is typically the culprit if your gums bleed easily during flossing and cleanings, or if you notice them receding. If you suspect early periodontal disease, your dentist can check the depth of your periodontal pockets. If they’re between four and five millimeters, you likely have early periodontal disease. Treatment for the early stages of periodontal disease is usually non-invasive, involving in-depth cleaning methods like scaling, which can remove layers of dental buildup. At this point, you’ll need to examine your dental hygiene routine to make sure the disease doesn’t progress.
STAGE THREE: MODERATE PERIODONTAL DISEASE
If you’ve been diagnosed with early periodontitis, it’s important to adjust your oral hygiene routine to make sure the disease doesn’t progress. If it does progress to moderate periodontitis, you’ll likely notice bleeding, pain, and even pus from serious infection. As your gums recede, your teeth will likely be more sensitive and uncomfortable – they may even become loose. At this stage, moderate bone loss can occur, and the infections in your mouth can affect the rest of your body, leading to full-body inflammation. To prevent further bone loss, you must visit a dentist, who may prescribe a variety of treatments including a dental laser treatment to eliminate diseased tissue in your periodontal pockets.
STAGE FOUR: ADVANCED PERIODONTAL DISEASE
The most advanced stage of periodontitis is a serious health concern. At this point, your gums are likely prone to regular bleeding or oozing. You’ll also experience severe pain while chewing, in addition to a foul taste in your mouth and bad breath. This is the point in the disease when patients often lose teeth because of severe gum recession.
Advanced periodontal disease can lead to severe complications like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. At this stage, you may be prescribed an antibiotic. Urgent dental measures will also need to be taken, including ridge augmentation, bone grafts, or dental implants depending on the severity of your tooth loss, gum recession, and decay.
Periodontal disease is a serious health problem, but it’s completely preventable with proper dental care. If you live near Springfield, Missouri, and you’re concerned that you’ve begun to show symptoms of gum disease, contact Wilkinson Dental. Your comfort and oral health are our top priorities. We are proud to offer you and your family a relaxing office environment while providing the care you need for a happier, healthier smile. It’s why we offer a variety of services including cleaning and exams, teeth whitening, and more. If you’re ready to set up an appointment, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or schedule one online. We look forward to hearing from you!