Gum Disease

Gum Disease: Signs, Stages, and Effective Treatments and Care

Gum disease is highly prevalent in the U.S., affecting nearly half (47.2 percent) of all adults aged 30 and older, according to NIH MedlinePlus. This serious form of gum infection can significantly damage the gums and ultimately destroy the jawbone. It is also preventable with proper dental care. Learn more about gum disease and why it’s important to speak with a Melbourne FL dentist about any concerns you may have about your oral health.

What Is Oral Gum Disease?

Most people are impacted by gum disease at some stage in their life. This very common condition occurs when an infection develops in the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It is most often caused by poor toothbrushing and flossing habits that result in plaque and tartar build up on the teeth.

This can cause the gums to become swollen, red, and bleed. A person with gum disease may also have persistent bad breath. If left untreated, it can spread to the bones that surround the gums, causing pain when chewing. In severe cases, gum disease can cause teeth to loosen or require removal.

What are the Stages of Gum Disease?

If you have been recently diagnosed with gum disease, it’s important to understand what stage you may be experiencing. It is a progressive condition, starting with mild symptoms that are reversible and advancing to severe damage that could be irreversible.

The stages of oral gum disease include:

1. Gingivitis

The first stage of is gingivitis, also known as gum inflammation. Unlike more progressive forms, gingivitis does not usually result in loss of bone. Instead, gingivitis is a result of plaque buildup around the teeth, which can result in redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums.

2. Initial Periodontitis

The second stage of is initial or ‘slight’ periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, this condition is not reversible, but it can be managed. Once a patient reaches this second stage, the infection has already spread to the bone and the bone loss process has already started to occur.

3. Mild Periodontitis

Mild periodontitis is the third stage of gum disease that results in more significant bone loss due to continued bone and tissue destruction. Some of the most common symptoms of mild periodontitis are soft or “spongy” gums, gum soreness, gum recession, and discomfort while biting.

4. Progressive Periodontitis

Progressive or “advanced” periodontitis is the final and most serious type of gum disease. At this stage, the patient has suffered irreversible gum damage. Resulting symptoms include loose teeth, shifting teeth, a bad taste in the mouth, pus accumulation, and severe chewing pain. If left untreated, progressive periodontitis will usually result in complete tooth loss.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Diagnosing gum disease requires a thorough dental exam. Your dentist will ask about your medical history and the symptoms you may be experiencing. An oral exam will show signs of inflammation and dental x-rays may be taken to identify possible bone loss. A periodontal probe may also be used to see if pockets have formed around the teeth.

Treatment are dependent on the severity of the condition. In the early stages, nonsurgical treatments are often recommended. These may include antibiotics to fight infection, as well as scaling and root planing, which is a type of deep cleaning similar to routine dental teeth cleanings.

If you have developed severe periodontitis, surgical treatment may be necessary. Flap surgery can help reduce the size of the gum pockets and remove any additional tartar hidden in the deep pockets of the gums. During flap surgery, the gums are lifted to allow tartar to be scraped away before the tissue is stitched back into place.

Call to Schedule Your Appointment Today

Gum disease requires treatment in its earliest stages to prevent irreversible damage to your gums, teeth, and overall health. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our Melbourne Florida dentist, call the friendly team of dental experts at Artistic Touch Dentistry at 321.724.1400.