What Are the Stages of Periodontal Disease?
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is one of the most common dental afflictions Americans face today. If left untreated, this condition can lead to loosening teeth and eventual loss of teeth altogether. It is crucial that patients recognize the stages of periodontal disease and which condition is the earliest stage. At Prescott Dentistry, our holistic approach to dental health allows us to provide effective recognition and treatment for periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth. It is currently the most common cause of adult tooth loss globally, and bacteria infection of the gum tissue is the general cause.
Indications of periodontal disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Bad breath (also known as halitosis)
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Tooth loosening
- Pus collection
Through gum inspection and x-rays, your dentist will analyze the extent of the disease and classify it under one of two stages:
If you catch gum disease in its early stages and seek treatment right away, you will be able to prevent tooth loss, bone loss, and the other serious side effects of advanced periodontitis.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Poor oral hygiene allows plaque and tartar to build upon the teeth and causes gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease. When plaque and tartar form close to the gum line, it causes bacterial infections in the gum tissue. Typically, the first signs of infection are red and swollen gums, bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing, or a painful sensation when the gums are touched.
However, these symptoms are not always present. Many people might not realize from self-inspection that they suffer from gum disease. It is always wise to make a habit of scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleanings because dentists must identify and treat gingivitis.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
If gingivitis goes untreated for an extended period, it will progress to the stage of gum disease. This state is also known as periodontitis. Advanced gum disease destroys the mouth’s soft tissue that holds the teeth to the jawbone. It also causes infections that lead to tooth decay and permanent bone loss in the jaw.
When Does Periodontal Disease Become Irreversible?
While potentially dangerous, gingivitis can be treated and cured. Making improvements to your dental hygiene practices will mitigate and even reverse the effects of this dangerous disease. Professional dental cleanings will also assist in curing gingivitis.
Once periodontal disease has progressed to periodontitis, the damage becomes impossible to reverse. Instead, you will need to carefully manage the condition to prevent further damage and tooth loss. Improvements in dental hygiene practices and professional dental cleanings will help. However, you might also need some non-invasive treatments like scaling, root planing, and antibiotics.
If the condition is particularly advanced, more invasive procedures like flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, and bone grafts may be necessary. If tooth loss has already occurred, you will also need dental implants, bridges, or dentures to replace the missing teeth.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease in Prescott, Arizona
Periodontal disease does not need to cause permanent damage to your shining smile! Through regular dental check-ups and proper dental hygiene, you will be able to spare yourself the permanent side effects of this condition. The experts at Prescott Dentistry are always here to assist you with identifying the early stages of periodontal disease. If you have noticed any of the signs of gingivitis, contact us to schedule an appointment today.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/29/2022). Photo by Rudi Fargo on Unsplash