different stages of gum disease

Exploring the Different Stages of Gum Disease

Did you know that gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults? Without treatment, gum disease can progress into several different stages that can drastically affect your oral health. At Lifetime Family Dental, we can treat any stage of gum disease. However, it’s better to catch early stages of gum disease before they can progress and cause permanent damage.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an ongoing infection caused by a buildup of bacteria that attacks your gums and jawbone. Technically referred to as periodontal disease, it affects the entire gum and bone area surrounding and supporting your teeth. There are four stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis, early periodontitis, moderate periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. 

The Four Stages of Gum Disease

1. Gingivitis

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, when bacteria attacks the gums. Common signs of gingivitis include redness or inflammation around the gums, as well as gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. Your dentist can help treat gingivitis with a professional cleaning. 

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine and scheduling regular visits to your dentist can reverse gingivitis and stop it from progressing. Although gingivitis is reversible, the other stages of gum disease are not. It’s important to take care of gingivitis as soon as you or your dentist notices symptoms.

2. Early Periodontitis

When bacteria starts attacking the bone holding your teeth in place, then gingivitis has progressed to early periodontitis. In this stage, your gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets between the gums and the teeth. A buildup of food, bacteria, and plaque fills these pockets and causes infection. With a professional cleaning, your dentist can treat early periodontitis to prevent it from worsening, but the damage is not reversible.

Symptoms of early periodontitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Increased inflammation in the gums
  • Pockets between the teeth and gums

3. Moderate Periodontitis

With similar symptoms to early periodontitis, moderate periodontitis occurs when the pockets between the gums and teeth increase in size. That means more bacteria can build up in your mouth to attack your teeth, gums, bone, and now your bloodstream. Treatment for this stage requires a deep cleaning from your dentist to clear out the pockets.

4. Advanced Periodontitis

If the earlier stages of gum disease go untreated, the infection will grow deeper beneath your gums. This painful final stage of gum disease causes significant bone loss and leads to tooth loss. To treat advanced periodontitis, you will need to undergo periodontal surgery to remove all of the bacteria deeply rooted in your mouth. 

Symptoms of advanced periodontitis include:

  • Red, swollen gums with pus
  • Loose teeth as a result of shifting
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Extremely bad breath

If you do not take action at this stage, your periodontal disease will only grow worse. You will experience further gum recession and tooth loss that might result in the need for dentures. Letting the infection spread can also lead to other health concerns. 

Treatment for Gum Disease in Gilbert

Take care of your teeth by taking action! At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, Arizona, we can reverse gingivitis and treat the later stages of gum disease before they worsen. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/29/2021). Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels