What Are The Stages and Signs of Gum Disease

signs-of-gum-diseaseMagazines often like to do profiles of the spouses of popular or powerful people. And it can be interesting to read about the lives of those who support a person who is in the public spotlight. In a similar way, our gums provide vital support to our teeth, which are frequently considered to be the “stars” of our mouth. However, the reality is that our gums and teeth work together and are equal partners in keeping our mouth healthy and functional.

Gum disease can begin silently and have very subtle symptoms. But it can wreak havoc with your oral health if it is not addressed. Here is a brief guide to the stages of gum disease, and the symptoms that may be present during each one.

How Gum Disease Develops

Stage 1: Gingivitis. After dental calculus (plaque) accumulates on your teeth, an inflammatory reaction can occur where the gums meet the teeth. Gums may become mildly sore or swollen, and can bleed on contact.

Stage 2: Mild periodontitis. Don’t let the term “mild” fool you – by the time gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis, your teeth are becoming significantly separated from your gums, forming “pockets” that are difficult to clean thoroughly. You may experience pain or bleeding at this stage, or see gum recession. Your dentist or periodontal specialist may suggest procedures such as scaling and root planing to halt the advance of gum disease, or prescribe antibiotics to help disrupt the bacterial plaque embedded in the pockets.

Stage 3: Advanced periodontitis. If periodontal disease cannot be halted before it reaches the most serious stages, the consequences can be dire. At this point, you will likely have suffered a loss of bone structure around your tooth, and the ligament of connective tissue which attaches your tooth to your gums may fail completely. Once you have begun to lose teeth in this manner, significant pain may be present. In many cases, tooth extractions and gum surgery are needed to address the damage that has occurred by this stage.

“Always take bleeding and other gum disease symptoms seriously and discuss them with your dental team,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist who is in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Periodic cleanings can lessen the chance of gum disease becoming problematic, and our office can offer treatments that can improve the condition at the earliest possible stage.”




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