With gum disease, or periodontal disease, one of the leading causes of tooth loss, it’s important that we all understand how it progresses. It’s also crucial to understand the stages of periodontal disease due to the fact that tooth loss can typically be avoided if the disease is caught within the first stage. We here at Advanced Indiana believe that knowledge is power when it comes to oral hygiene, and after reading this article you will have a better understanding of the stages of periodontal disease. Let’s get started!
The Earliest Stage of Periodontal Disease: Gingivitis
The first stage of periodontal disease only impacts the soft tissue of the gums. Further, the patient is unlikely to notice much discomfort in the first stage. While the symptoms of periodontal disease may be mild within the first stage, it’s still important to diagnose gum disease before it progresses to the second stage: periodontitis.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms associated with gingivitis:
- A metallic taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Spaces increasing between teeth
- Receding gums
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of bacteria. In the earliest stages of gingivitis, inflammation of the gums is evident. In most cases, gum tissues will appear swollen and red in color. If your gums bleed easily when brushing your teeth, this is also a common indicator that gingivitis is present and you should immediately schedule a dental appointment.
The Advanced Stages of Periodontal Disease: Periodontitis
The more advanced stage of periodontal disease is known as periodontitis and, if things are permitted to progress to this stage, the bone structure of the teeth will be impacted- not just the gums. Once this is allowed, the supporting teeth will be compromised, resulting in tooth loss. Periodontitis is often present before it’s noticed because regular dental appointments haven’t been kept. This is one of the many reasons that it is so crucial to make regular appointments with your dentist.
The Stages of Periodontitis
While there are only two main stages of periodontal disease, periodontitis is composed of four stages:
- Stage 1: Initial
- Stage 2: Moderate
- Stage 3: Severe with potential for tooth loss
- Stage 4: Severe with potential for complete tooth loss
It is important to note that by the time periodontitis is allowed to progress to stage 4, the patient will have already suffered the loss of some teeth, with the ones that remain to be loose. In many cases, because they don’t have enough gum or bone supporting them, the teeth will be unlikely to be able to support the force of biting or chewing. It should also be noted that stage 4 periodontitis can lead to other extremely serious health issues, such as a heart attack or diabetes.
How Quickly Does Periodontitis Progress?
Aside from being split into 4 stages, periodontitis is also categorized into three separate rates of progression: grade A, grade B, and grade C. In order to determine the best treatment method for periodontitis, dentists must first assess what rate of progression the disease is in. Grade A is a slowly progressing disease, grade B is moderately progressing, and grade C is rapidly progressing. It goes without saying that the more rapid the progression of your periodontitis, the sooner you should seek treatment.
While the rate of progression of periodontitis is variable, it is a serious problem that should be treated as soon as possible. Luckily, periodontal disease can be completely reversed if caught early enough. However, those with periodontitis will have to manage it for the rest of their lives. It is crucial that you keep regular appointments with your dentist so that you can catch the symptoms of gingivitis as early as possible in order to fully treat periodontal disease. If you notice any of the symptoms of periodontal disease outlined in this article, visit your dentist immediately.
Periodontal Disease Treatments From Knowledgeable Dentists
Now that you know how periodontal disease progresses, how quickly, and why it’s important to keep regular check-ups with your dentist, it’s time to do what you can to prevent periodontal disease. The best way to keep control over your oral health is by regularly visiting your dentist.
When signs of the early stages of periodontal disease arise, you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately to receive treatment. Periodontal and gum disease treatments can make all of the difference when the disease is caught early on. Contact Advanced Indiana today! We’ll be happy to help by providing exceptional dental services.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki