Occasionally forgetting to brush your teeth before bed or flossing once every few days is not the worst, but neglecting oral hygiene habits over time can lead to the onset of gum disease. Not only can our Washington dentist help you to prevent gum disease, but he can also manage your condition should you be diagnosed.
Here are the different stages of gum disease, common signs, symptoms, and treatment depending on the severity.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, describes an infection of the tissues that surround and hold teeth in place. Having some form of gum disease is common among adults and is caused by an accumulation of plaque. Fortunately, gum disease doesn’t have to happen and is preventable with proper oral hygiene.
You might think that gum disease is one thing and that’s all there is to the condition. Well, there are actually varying stages and two ways gum disease is categorized: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis signifies the beginning and earliest stage of periodontal disease. It is the only stage that is reversible as any infection that progresses beyond gingivitis requires more in-depth dental treatments. Periodontitis is long-term and can only be managed with periodontal therapy or more intensive methods like oral surgery.
Within every stage of periodontal disease, there are signs or symptoms that require further oral examination and treatment. One stage marker is gum pocket depth. As gum disease worsens, the pockets that form between your gums and teeth grow deeper allowing bacteria to wreak havoc on oral tissues.
The four core stages of this condition include gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease.
When enough plaque has built up around your teeth, gingivitis can occur. With regards to symptoms, this typically means swollen or red gums and bleeding when brushing or flossing. It is at this stage that a patient’s gum disease is reversible and has not resulted in many other complications.
Gingivitis is a mild infection and some may not even know it’s developed until told by our dentist. This is because symptoms are often painless. Certain symptoms, like bleeding gums, can mistakenly be attributed to brushing or flossing too hard which while possible, is not always the case.
The best way to treat and reverse gingivitis is to thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Our dentist also recommends you receive a professional teeth cleaning and proceed to have one every 6 months for good oral health.
Moving past gingivitis and into the realm of periodontitis, this stage is less likely to be reversed. Our dentist can help you manage the condition with treatment but can’t promise that it’ll completely disappear.
You’ll notice increased swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. The pockets between your gums and teeth will also be deeper which our dentist will probe to diagnose the stage. A depth measurement of 4 to 5 millimeters will indicate slight periodontal disease and require specialized cleaning beyond at-home care.
Action will need to be taken at this point as bacteria has spread to the bone which means bone tissues are under attack. We encourage you to visit our Washington dental office if you are experiencing symptoms of this nature.
This stage of infection shares similar symptoms as slight periodontal disease but does differ in terms of pocket depths. Those will typically measure between 6 and 7 millimeters when probed by our dentist.
Because bacteria can attack both your teeth and jawbone at this point, our dentist will perform a procedure called scaling and root planing. This form of treatment involves a deep cleaning below the gumline to remove bacterial deposits and can improve the health of your smile. It can also be used to treat the previous gum disease stage.
Ignoring the other 3 stages will result in an advanced form of gum disease. Treatment is possible but will likely be either periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy to clean out the deep pockets of bacteria underneath the gums and allow for healing.
Common symptoms of advanced periodontal disease include:
If you’re suffering from gum disease, our dentist in Washington, MI, can treat and manage your condition. We also encourage teeth cleanings every 6 months, in addition to oral care at home, to prevent gum disease from occurring. Call Washington Family Dental today at (586) 752-4545 or contact us online for an appointment.