Half of Americans over the age of thirty are diagnosed with gum disease, and many do not seek treatment until they experience pain or can visibly see the problems that are occurring in their mouth. One of the best ways to treat gum disease is through prevention, and knowing the stages of gum disease can help you seek treatment early on and keep your smile healthy.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first step in developing full blown gum disease. Early signs of gingivitis include red or swollen gums, bleeding gums during brushing, and a receding gum line that appears to elongate your teeth. These are signs that you should immediately see your dentist, because at this stage damage can still be reversed. Allowing gingivitis to go untreated can lead to pockets forming between teeth that will fill will food and debris which allows gingivitis to develop into the second stage of gum disease.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
10-15% of gingivitis cases will lead to this stage of gum disease due to lack of treatment. Stage 2 is categorized by the loss of bone mass. This is the result of inflamed gums and tissues that allow plaque and tartar to flourish in pockets around the teeth. At this stage, professional cleanings are recommended to help remove the buildup that has formed in these pockets. At this point problematic teeth may need to be pulled in order to prevent the disease from developing further. If left untreated, the condition will continue to worsen.
Stage 3: Severe Periodontitis
Once gum disease has reached the third stage of damage, the effects will be visible. Your teeth will face severe bone loss, and may become loose from your gums, as they have visibly receded from your teeth. Pockets of abscess will form between your teeth and can cause serious pain. At this stage of gum disease, tooth loss will occur, and you will need to discuss options with your dentist about the best alternative to teeth.
The best way to avoid this disease is through preventative measures. Proper brushing and flossing are the keys to maintaining oral health, and can make a huge difference in preventing the development of gum disease. If you have concerns about your oral health or have seen the warning signs of gum disease, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas to set up an appointment with our experienced dentists.