Gum disease is an oral health disease that affects the periodontal tissue in our mouths which cover and protect the roots of our teeth. Our gums also help to support our teeth and keep them healthy and strong.
If left untreated, the gum disease will get worse. Caused by bacteria in the mouth, gum disease—sometimes called periodontal disease—has symptoms such as chronic bad breath, tender or bleeding gums, and sensitive teeth .
What stages are seen in patients with gum disease as it gets worse? The following phases can help you better understand how this devastating condition works in the mouth to cause severe consequences.
Gingivitis: Early Gum Disease
Gingivitis, a word that means inflammation of the gums, is the beginning stage of gum disease. Fortunately, in this early phase, gum disease is relatively simple to reverse with a professional cleaning from your dentist and regular home care habits.
When gingivitis is present, you may see swollen gums that appear puffy, see blood when brushing, or bad breath that returns even after brushing or using mouthwash . By getting regular cleanings with your dentist and taking care of your teeth at home, you can prevent gingivitis!
Periodontitis: Moderate to Severe Gum Disease
Periodontitis characterizes a more moderate to severe gum disease in which the gums actually begin to pull away from the teeth. This creates pockets of infection that can cause sensitive teeth, pain, and begin to cause damage to the connective tissue that help hold your teeth in place.
At this stage, your gum disease won’t be able to be reversed with a simple cleaning. Your dentist may suggest a professional treatment that actually goes beneath the gumline to remove bacteria and infection, also known as a root planing and scaling in an attempt to control the condition .
Advanced Periodontitis: Severe Gum Disease
Once your gum disease has advanced, your teeth may begin to feel loose as the supporting bone and ligaments will have been damaged by the bacteria and infection present beneath the gumline.
At this stage, gum disease will be more difficult to treat. If your teeth are shifting or loose, an extraction may be the only option to treat your smile . Once your natural teeth are gone, you’ll need to consider replacements once your gum disease is under control.
Are You Seeing Signs of Gum Disease?
If you’re seeing the signs or experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Remember, the earlier you treat gum disease, the easier and less invasive your treatment will be. While gum disease is common in adults, it can ruin your natural smile, so don’t delay in seeking professional treatment!