4 Stages of Gum Disease

4 Stages of Gum Disease

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Nov 27,2022

This is a thumbnail image of blog 4 Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar and leads to gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that only affects the gums.

Symptoms of gum disease

The symptoms of gum disease can vary greatly depending on how severe the inflammation has become. Some of the most common symptoms include:

- Bleeding gums

- Bad breath

- Swollen or tender gums

- Receding gum lines

- Loose teeth

- Teeth sensitivity

- Changes in bite pattern

If left untreated, these symptoms will worsen as the infection progresses and the bone begins to deteriorate. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and may need to be removed. This is why it’s important to treat gum disease as soon as possible. The four stages of gum disease are the following:

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease and is marked by red or swollen gums that bleed easily when touched or when eating. The gum tissue may also appear puffy and feel tender. This condition is caused by bacteria found in plaque building up along the gum line. When the toxins irritate the gum tissue, they become inflamed. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent recurrences of gingivitis.

Stage 2: Early Periodontitis

The stage of gum disease called early periodontitis is the next stage of the disease process. It begins with mild gum inflammation, which then develops into moderate gum inflammation. At this point, patients typically experience bleeding gums when they brush and floss their teeth. Patients notice that they have bad breath as well due to bacteria buildup. At this stage, the patient should see a dentist for treatment to prevent the disease from getting worse. Without treatment, gum disease will progress to the next stage. This is why early diagnosis is important. Patients diagnosed with severe gum disease need immediate care before their condition worsens. This stage can actually result in tooth loss if left untreated for too long. It is very important that you visit the dentist for periodic deep cleaning to prevent infection and disease.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis

Moderate periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease marked by increasingly severe symptoms. Inflammation causes pockets to form between the teeth and gums where bacteria and plaque can collect. At this stage of periodontal disease, the gums may also begin to recede, exposing more of the tooth’s root surface to bacteria.

Thorough professional cleanings and regular checkups are the most effective forms of treatment for moderate periodontitis and can help prevent further damage. If left untreated, moderate to advanced cases of periodontitis can cause irreversible damage to the gum tissue and bone, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease. If left untreated, it can lead to severe bone and tooth loss. In advanced periodontitis, bacteria infect the gums and damage the bone that holds teeth in place. This damage can’t be reversed by brushing or flossing alone, which is why it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible when experiencing symptoms of gum disease.

Some common signs of the later stages of gum disease include loose teeth, gum recession, tooth shifting, root resorption, abscesses, bleeding gums, and pain while eating or chewing.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above.

The treatment process for advanced periodontitis typically includes scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line as well as antibiotics used to kill any lingering bacteria. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to correct damage caused by advanced periodontitis and restore the mouth back to a healthy state.

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