Stages of Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the bacteria infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by an Evansville, IN dentist.

Smoking is the most significant risk factor and can make periodontal disease treatment less effective. Other factors that increase one’s risk include diabetes, medications that reduce the natural flow of saliva, genetics, hormonal changes, stess, and certain illnesses like heart disease.

Periodontal disease is broken up into four separate stages: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease.

1. Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible as it has not yet had time to attack the bones. It is the result of a buildup of plaque around the teeth. There are only a few signs at this stage and most are painless.  Beginning signs to watch out for include bad breath on occasion, swelling and redness of the gums, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Good overall oral hygiene and regular checkups can treat and reverse gingivitis.

2. Slight periodontal disease is the second stage of periodontal disease. It is not reversible, but it is manageable. Once a patient reaches stage two, the infection has spread to the bone and begins its bone-destroying process. The bacteria evolves and becomes more aggressive, which is what causes the additional bone loss. Simple oral hygiene will no longer cut it. Signs include increased swelling or redness of the gums, bad breath, bleeding during brushing or flossing, and probing depths that are between four and five millimeters.

3. Like slight periodontal disease, the third stage of periodontal disease (moderate periodontal disease)cannot be reversed. At stage three, the same symptoms as stage two occur but probing depths are greater at six to seven millimeters which allows for even more bacteria to attack, not only your bones, but your blood stream and immune system as well. Treatment for stage two and stage three periodontal disease consists of scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing are forms of deep cleaning that remove the deposits of bacteria that are deeply rooted in your gums. If left untreated, these stages can progress to bone and tooth loss, gum sensitivity,increased bleeding, and the shifting of teeth. 

4. The final stage is advanced periodontal disease.  It occurs when the infection deepens even further. Advanced periodontal disease causes red, swollen gums that ooze pus, cold sensitivity, further loosening of teeth, severe bone loss, painful chewing, and severe halitosis (bad breath). This stage requires periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy in order to clean the deep bacteria-filled pockets that have formed. If left untreated, stage four periodontal disease leads to spacing or gaps between the teeth, gum recession, patients needing dentures, and other overall health problems that can be serious.

By scheduling regular checkups,  gum disease can be diagnosed and treated before it leads to a much more serious condition. Make an apptointment to see the best dentist in Evansville, IN- Dr Jenkins today!

Author
A Woman's Touch Dentistry

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