The stages of gum disease are diagnosed by identifying a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.
If you’re in the early stages, treatment will result in a swift turnaround. The earlier you’re treated the better, because advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss — a much more painful, expensive dental problem to resolve.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease is the common term for periodontal disease, which is caused by the bacteria in plaque. Plaque builds up on and in between your teeth and on your gums. It’s sticky and clear, so it’s hard to see.
If it’s not removed, the bacteria in the plaque infects your gums. If the infection isn’t treated, eventually it can loosen the tooth in its socket, causing it to fall out.
Out of all the stages of gum disease, stage one is the easiest to treat. When the disease is at this level, it’s termed gingivitis. Your gums will be inflamed and swollen. They may bleed easily. You also may have noticeably bad breath.
If gingivitis goes untreated, it turns into early periodontitis. The inflammation that was in your gums will spread to the inner structures of the tooth and can result in small pockets of bone loss. Your gums will be more inflamed and tender to touch.
At stage three, the teeth structures are weakening. This means you’ll probably feel the affected teeth starting to loosen. This will be even more noticeable at this stage of moderate periodontitis. Your bite may not fit together due to tooth movement.
By stage four, you’ve reached advanced periodontitis, and the bone loss will have grown so severe that your teeth may fall out. Your gums will have severely receded, exposing the tooth’s roots.
What Can You Do?
If you’ve never been diagnosed with any of the stages of gum disease, try to keep it that way. Don’t smoke, get help if you grind your teeth, and eat a well-balanced diet. Smoking, teeth grinding and bad nutrition are all risk factors you can reduce or eliminate.
You should focus on daily oral hygiene, regularly brushing and flossing to remove plaque. If you notice an issue with your gums, don’t wait — get it checked by your dentist right away.
At Oak Hills Dentistry, periodontal disease is a condition we take seriously. We will assess the health of your teeth and gums and determine which stage of gum disease you’re in, tailoring treatment based on our findings. Take the first step toward good oral health — make an appointment today.