Simply put, periodontal disease (periodontitis), is an infection of the gums. This happens when there is an excessive amount of bacteria buildup in your mouth over time. But wait, that sounds like gingivitis? Well, that’s because gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Periodontitis starts as inflammation and gets worse over time, eventually causing damage to your bones and teeth as it progresses. The good news is, if periodontitis is treated early, the damage can be stopped in its tracks.
What are the stages of Periodontal Disease?
As we mentioned, periodontitis starts as inflammation that gets worse over time. This is typically caused by poor oral hygiene habits at home, and choosing to skip on regular dentist visits.
The first stage of periodontitis is gingivitis. This is caused when the gums become inflamed from a buildup of bacteria under the gum line. Gingivitis is often recognizable, because your gums will tend to bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. This is commonly coupled with tooth discoloration known as plaque.
Early Periodontal Disease
After gingivitis comes the first signs of periodontal disease. In this stage, you may notice your gums beginning to recede or pull away from your teeth. When your gums begin to recede, pockets can form between the teeth and gums. These pockets can harbor harmful bacteria, which over time can cause a more serious infection, tooth decay, and even bone loss.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
If the early signs of periodontal disease are left untreated, you may begin to experience frequent pain and sensitivity. Your gums unfortunately will continue to recede, and teeth may become loose. Because your oral health plays a big role in your overall health, you may even begin to notice problems with your immune system.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
In the advanced stages of this disease, the connective tissue used to hold your teeth in place begin to deteriorate. When this happens, you begin to experience severe tooth pain, tissue and bone loss– even tooth loss.
What to do if you have periodontal disease…
If you are concerned that you may have the early– or advanced stages of periodontal disease, we encourage you to contact your dentist to schedule a comprehensive exam and cleaning.
We understand that for many people with this disease, the reason why they have gotten to this point is due to underlying factors, including dental anxiety. At Wellspring Dental, we want you to know that you are in good hands. We can diagnose and treat this condition, while monitoring it over time to ensure you stay on track to success.