Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common infection of the gums caused by various bacteria that reside in the tissue. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health complications. Periodontal disease can be classified into four stages, with the earliest stage being gingivitis. Gingivitis is the only stage of the disease that can be reversed with proper oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and cleaning. The other three stages involve varying degrees of gum and bone damage and are more difficult to treat.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and the only stage that can be reversed. This is because the infection has not yet reached the bones. Gingivitis is caused by an accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. The first signs of gum disease are usually bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing. Other symptoms include red, swollen, or tender gums, and bad breath. Many people with gingivitis do not experience pain or discomfort, which is why the disease can progress without being detected.
Fortunately, gingivitis can be effectively treated and reversed with proper oral hygiene, frequent dental checkups, and periodic dental cleanings. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash to kill bacteria. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are important because they allow a dentist to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on the teeth and identify any signs of gum disease early on. In severe cases, or in individuals who have a weakened immune system, additional treatment may be necessary, such as antibiotics and antiseptic irrigations.
The second stage of periodontal disease is slight periodontal disease. At this stage, the infection has reached the bone and is starting to destroy it. The bone loss is the result of an increase in bacterial aggression. Scaling and root planing may be used to remove plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of teeth and gums, respectively. It eliminates the deep-seated germs from your gums. For the best results on treatment, antibiotic placement, irrigating the tissue with antiseptic, and even laser treatments will aid in treatment. Slight periodontal disease cannot be reversed, but it can be controlled through proper oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and cleaning.
The third stage of periodontal disease is moderate periodontal disease. This is when more bacteria can enter the bloodstream and the bones due to deeper probing depths. As with mild periodontal disease, our experts will utilize scale and root planing to completely clean the affected region. So the main distinction between mild/slight and moderate is the amount of bone loss or patients might hear deeper gum pocket numbers.
The final stage of periodontal disease is advanced periodontal disease, which is the end stage of the disease. At this stage, the infection has progressed to the point that it can produce disease-causing bacteria. The symptoms of advanced periodontal disease include redness, swelling, pus-filled gums, sensitivity, tooth looseness, uncomfortable eating, and bad breath. If the deep pockets of bacteria are not cleaned, then surgery may be required. In the absence of treatment, stage four may lead to teeth extractions, receding gums, and a host of other health issues. Once at this stage the teeth have a very poor prognosis.
The symptoms of periodontal disease usually do not surface until the condition has progressed very far. These are some of the early symptoms of periodontal disease:
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