We’ve covered the basics of gum disease, the inflammation of the mouth’s soft tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place, in our recent gum disease crash course, but it’s also important to know the stages of gum disease so you can stay on alert. Gum disease is a common ailment — half of American adults over the age of 30 experience gum disease —that’s treatable but if ignored, the early manageable stages of gum disease worsen and become more difficult to treat. If you notice inflamed gums, it’s important to schedule a dental check-up.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease that most adults experience, and fortunately, it’s easier to treat than advanced stages because the bone supporting the teeth is not yet affected. Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen and tender gums that bleed while brushing, flossing or eating hard foods. You may also notice plaque and tartar build-up along the gum line. Gingivitis is most often caused by poor dental hygiene; if you follow the recommend twice-daily teeth brushing and daily flossing, you can easily prevent gingivitis. Anti-bacterial mouthwash is also helpful in clearing the bacteria that leads to plaque build-up and gingivitis. Other risk factors for gingivitis include smoking, use of tobacco products, and stress.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
If gingivitis is not treated and the bad oral habits are not corrected, gum disease can worsen and become periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that not only damages the soft tissue but also damages the bone that supports the teeth. In the early stages of periodontitis, you’ll experience bone loss, increased plaque and tartar build-up and persistent inflammation of the gums.
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis
As periodontitis worsens, inflammation of the gums persists and results in moderate bone loss. You will notice that your gums are receding and your teeth appear longer. Periodontitis destroys the bone and the stability of your teeth are at risk.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis
Advanced periodontitis develops when the infection remains untreated and the poor hygiene persists. Advanced periodontitis is marked by severe bone loss and loss of teeth. Periodontitis also puts you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Periodontitis may require surgery to repair the damaged bone structure.
ABOUT YOUR SHREWSBURY DENTISTS:
At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.