Stages Of Gum Disease

Often, during your regular dental visit, your general dentist or hygenist may find symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease.  They will recommend you to consult a periodontist, however a recommendation is not necessarily required. 

You should schedule an appointment with a periodontist if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:
  • -Bleeding gums while eating or brushing
  • -Bad breath
  • -Gum recession
  • -Loose tooth or teeth
  • -Swellings of the gum
  • -Bad taste in the mouth
  • -Tenderness of the gums
  • -Red to purple color of the gums
  • -Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
  • -Sensitive teeth
  • -Heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis are highly correlated with periodontitis and periodontal infections.  The bacteria infection can spread through the blood stream and affect other parts of the body.

Stage 1: Gingivitis

The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.  Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up around the gums. This built-up plaque traps bacteria at your gum line, causing inflammation. Trapped bacteria will cause an infection and further stages of gum disease. In this first stage, the progress of gingivitis is reversible because no damage has yet occurred to the bones and tissue holding your teeth in place.

Signs of gingivitis include red or swollen gums instead of pink color. Additionally, bleeding may occur during regular brushing or flossing. (Healthy gums will not bleed as a result of daily hygiene.)
Stage 2: Periodontitis

When left untreated, gingivitis progresses to the second stage of gum disease, called periodontitis.  In this pivotal stage of gum disease, structural damage occurs to the bones and tissue holding your teeth in place.  This damage can only be repaired through aggressive treatment and surgery. Plaque and bacteria that built-up during gingivitis create pockets in the gums. These pockets are hollow areas at the base of the teeth which will hold plaque, food, and bacteria deeper within your gums. Immediate treatment is required to address these issues and prevent further damage and tissue or bone loss.

Periodontitis causes such visible signs as your gums receding and gaps forming in between teeth.  Periodontitis can also cause chronic bad breath or even a bad taste in someone’s mouth.  At times, pus may emit from the gums.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis

If initial symptoms of periodontitis are left untreated, the gum disease will progress to advanced periodontitis.  In this final stage of gum disease, the bacteria existing in gum pockets spreads throughout the gums, destroying the connective tissue and bones that support your teeth.  The pockets that were formed during Stage 2 become significantly deeper, which can allow teeth to loosen or shift, potentially altering your bite.  Aggressive treatment is required to combat the systemic problems caused by the gum disease.

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