What are the Different Stages of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the progressive loss of the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth. It occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth continuously produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums and bone that hold teeth in place. There are several different stages of gum disease including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. At Finger Lakes Dental, we provide gum disease treatment at each of our five New York locations.
Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible because it hasn’t yet attacked the bones. Typically, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth. One of the first signs of gingivitis is bleeding gums, however, many symptoms are painless, which is what makes this stage of periodontal disease so common. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits and cleanings can help treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease will progress and the gums and teeth will start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In these cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.
If you’ve reached the stage of advanced periodontitis, you are at risk for tooth loss and for your teeth to fall out at any time. At this stage, the teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.
Losing teeth is not the only thing you have to be worried about, though, if you have advanced periodontitis. There’s been growing evidence of a link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain, and even lungs.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and regular checkups, treatments, and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.
Periodontal disease can be reversed if you catch it quick enough. However, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. You should get in contact with your dentist right away if you believe you have symptoms of periodontal disease. Find the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest to you from our locations page or schedule an appointment online. We’re always happy to help!