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Exploring the Stages of Gum Disease

Gum Disease

Did you know that healthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth? After all, your gums protect and support your smile. Periodontal disease – or gum disease – can wreak havoc on your overall oral health. If left untreated, it can lead to a variety of serious complications, including tooth mobility and tooth loss. Today, our team at Glenora Family Dental will explore the three stages of gum disease. We will also discuss prevention and gum disease treatments which can address this condition at every level.

Stage one: gingivitis

Have your gums ever been red, puffy, or inflamed? If so, you may have had gingivitis. The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis is simply the body’s response to irritants on the teeth. If plaque and tartar are not removed from the teeth through routine dental care, these deposits will accumulate near the gum line. The bacteria in these irritants can cause bad breath and tender, bleeding gums. Fortunately, gum disease can be reversed if detected in this early stage. Typically, all that is necessary is a professional dental cleaning with your hygienist.

Stage two: periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, the problem will worsen. Eventually, the bacteria will seep beneath the gums, causing infection to develop in the underlying bone. This infection can erode the supporting jawbone, creating pockets around the necks of the teeth. Unfortunately, these pockets cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. Therefore, the only way to remedy the problem is through a deep dental cleaning. Also referred to as scaling and root planning, a deep cleaning involves administering local anesthesia so your hygienist or dentist can sweep away the irritants deep below the gum line. Generally, this is completed using a combination of hand scalers and ultrasonic cleaning instruments. Once the plaque, tartar, and debris have been removed, the surfaces of the teeth roots will be smoothed out. This process will help deter further irritants from reattaching.

Stage three: advanced periodontitis

When periodontitis lingers on without treatment, it will eventually worsen into advanced periodontitis. At this stage, the periodontal pockets around the teeth become deeper, leading to tooth mobility. In some cases, bone loss is so extreme that patients may lose teeth. Although the earlier stages of gum disease are typically not accompanied by pain, advanced periodontitis can eventually cause discomfort when chewing. Patients may also have bad taste or bad breath, which is very difficult to mask with mouthwashes. The repercussions of advanced periodontitis extend far beyond dental health. There is also an undeniable link between gum disease and other serious overall health concerns, including hearth disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. Unfortunately, this stage of periodontal disease requires surgical intervention. While moderate cases may be treatable using laser technology, other severe cases will require making incisions and moving the gums back so that the infection can be cleaned out. Once the treatment is complete, the gums will be repositioned and sutured into place.

The importance of early gum disease detection

As you can imagine, treating gum disease in its early stage is preferable for several reasons. First, if detected early enough, no bone loss will occur. Additionally, there is the benefit of more cost-effective treatment, as a deep cleaning is much more affordable than periodontal surgery. Most importantly, by diagnosing and treating gum disease early, you can give yourself the best chance for long-term oral health.

Learn more about gum treatments at our practice

If you are experiencing symptoms of periodontal disease such as swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, schedule a consultation with Dr. VandenBrink at our Edmonton, AB dental office. We can help you determine a fully customized treatment plan that can appropriately address your needs. Contact us online or call us at 780-452-5700.