The Stages of Gum Disease: Periodontal Health Issues
Having a beautiful smile means having great teeth as well as healthy gums. When gum disease occurs, there are many ways to treat it and keep it under control. Our Albuquerque dental care center prides itself on offering state-of-the-art periodontal treatment, addressing various problems that may impact your gums.
The team at Cosmetic Dentistry of New Mexico would like to take a moment to focus on the different stages of gum disease. Let's start with an overview of gum disease first and then work from there.
About Gum Disease
Gum disease refers to the bacterial infection of the gum tissue. This bacteria naturally occurs in the mouth and is also responsible for bad breath and tooth decay. Gum disease can lead to serious problems involving the health of your gumline, eventually leading to problems affecting your teeth, your jawbone, other structures of the mouth, and your overall health and wellness.
There are three stages of gum disease
- Advanced periodontitis
Let's cover each stage and their symptoms in more detail individually.
Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease and also the easiest to treat. The most common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Irritated gums
- Discolored gums
- Strange taste in the mouth
Treating gingivitis involves getting the infection under control. This usually involves the use of an antiseptic rinse combined with more rigorous and thorough oral hygiene at home. A deep cleaning (root planing and scaling) and other in-office procedures may be recommended as well.
Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease, and involves a worsening of the previously listed symptoms. Additional symptoms common to this stage of gum disease include:
- Swelling of the gums
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Tooth decay forming below the gumline
- Changes in dental alignment
Treating periodontitis will often involve the use of antiseptic or antibacterial rinses and toothpastes to bring the infection under control. Serious infections may call for the use of oral antibiotics. Dentist may need to perform advanced restorative dentistry procedures to address the loss of gum tissue as well as tooth damage at this stage of the condition.
This is the most advanced stage of gum disease, and also very challenging to treat. In addition to worsening of previous symptoms, patients with advanced periodontitis may experience:
- Severe deformation of the gums
- Major tooth misalignment
- Root canal infections
- Oral abscesses
- Tooth loss
At this stage of gum disease, dentists must work aggressively to address the infection, using a combination of antiseptic, antibacterial, and antibiotic treatments. There may be substantial damage done to the teeth and other structures of the mouth, requiring a full mouth reconstruction to properly fix.
Tips for Preventing Gum Disease
To prevent gum disease from developing, or to at least prevent gingivitis from progressing to more severe stages, consider the following oral hygiene tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
- Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
- Drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and maintenance
Contact Cosmetic Dentistry of New Mexico
For more information about treating and preventing gum disease, be sure to contact Cosmetic Dentistry of New Mexico. Our team will work with you and help improve your dental health and overall wellness.