Recognizing the Stages of Gum Disease
Do you have tender gums? Do they appear red and swollen? Do they bleed when you brush? You could have periodontal disease. When left untreated, this serious condition can lead to a host of oral health complications. Today, our team at Garden City Smiles in Long Island, NY will explore the stages of gum disease and discuss the restorative dentistry treatments that can help treat the condition.
The First Stage: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is usually not accompanied by discomfort or pain. Therefore, you must be familiar with other warning signs so that you can treat the problem if it develops.
This earliest stage of gum disease is characterized by irritated, red, puffy gums. Many patients notice that their gums bleed when they brush and floss. When this occurs, it can be tempting to avoid oral hygiene for a few days.
On the contrary, if you notice these symptoms, you should brush and floss more frequently and more aggressively. This condition can actually be reversed though diligent care and a regular dental cleaning. Therefore, at this stage, periodontal disease is completely reversible.
The Second Stage: Periodontitis
Unfortunately, if gingivitis remains untreated, it will progress. The bacteria that have accumulated around the teeth will seep into the gums and begin to affect the supporting jawbone.
The infection will erode the bone tissue, forming periodontal pockets around the roots of the teeth. When the bacteria spread this deep, they are unreachable with a toothbrush and floss.
In fact, not even a regular cleaning will remedy the situation. In these cases, a deep dental cleaning, or scaling and root planing, will be necessary. During this treatment, the clinician will numb the gums and clean deep into the gum line, sweeping out harmful bacteria. He or she will also smooth the surface of the roots so that further irritants are less likely to attach.
The Third Stage: Advanced Periodontitis
As you might imagine, if no treatments are pursued for periodontitis, the condition will worsen further. Advanced periodontitis is a serious condition that requires surgical intervention.
During this stage of the disease, bone loss continues. As a result, the teeth can become loose, and even fall out. This is accompanied by bad breath and a bad taste. The gums may also recede due to the extensive bone loss.
To treat this condition, the gums must be pulled away from the teeth. The infection will then be cleaned out, and the gums will be repositioned and sutured back into place.
Periodontal Disease and Genetics
Many patients assume that if they have gum disease, they have done something wrong. This is not necessarily true, however. In fact, many individuals have a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease, meaning their gums are simply more sensitive to irritants on the teeth. Patients who are naturally prone to gum disease may require regular dental cleanings more frequently than other patients. Many periodontal patients receive teeth cleanings every three to four months.
Learn More about Periodontal Treatments
Detecting and treating gum disease early can help you avoid significant oral health issues. Additionally, early treatment can save you a tremendous amount of money as well, as dental cleanings are far less expensive than gum surgery. To learn more about the periodontal treatments offered at our practice, contact us online or call us at (516) 294-0375.