Have you been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease?
When you're diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, it is imperative that you listen to your dentist and periodontist and take the proper steps to reverse the disease. Untreated gingivitis will progress to periodontal disease; once it does, it cannot be reversed. The only thing you can do once you have periodontal disease is work toward maintaining it and not letting it progress.
In terms of periodontal disease, there are four main stages.
4 Stages of Periodontal Disease
Stage 1: Initial Periodontitis
Gingivitis left untreated can progress to Stage 1 Periodontitis. Consequently, the gums become inflamed and destructive. It is a well-known fact that chronic (long-term) inflammation can have destructive effects on the body. As a result of periodontitis, the fibers that connect the roots of teeth to their sockets are damaged. 'Periodontal ligaments' are the fibers that surround the teeth, and the damage done to them is permanent.
Since the signs and symptoms are almost identical to gingivitis, this stage can be difficult to distinguish. There is no real pain to help you determine if it is gingivitis or stage 1 of periodontal disease; however, your gums will still continue to bleed when you brush them, and they may start to become more inflamed.
Since this stage causes permanent damage, the only remedy is to work with your periodontist to prevent it from progressing. Early treatment of periodontal disease begins with a deep teeth cleaning, known as debridement. An effective way to remove bacteria and calculus from your gums and teeth is by undergoing dental demineralization. As a result, the progression will be slowed down.
Stage 2: Moderate Periodontitis
Periodontitis progresses to this stage when the correct techniques and remedies are not used in the initial stages.
In the case of moderate periodontitis, the extent of ligament or joint damage between the tooth root and its socket is what distinguishes it from initial periodontitis. Early stages of periodontitis are characterized by only light damage, which is almost undetectable, making it difficult to distinguish from gingivitis.
The severity of moderate periodontitis, however, depends on the extent to which the ligaments have been damaged. Moderate periodontitis can often be detected by a periodontist because of the amount of damage that is visible. In this stage, discomfort in the gums sets in, and the disease becomes worse.
Stage 3: Severe Periodontitis (with potential for tooth loss)
This stage is likely to involve symptoms such as the following
- Bad breath that persists
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- As your gums recede, your teeth may appear longer
- You may experience changes in your bite and not feel as comfortable as you normally do.
- Loosening or moving of teeth
- Swelling may also progress to a more advanced stage
Many treatment options are available to you at this point, including periodontal surgery. Dentures or dental implants may be the only option to replace missing teeth in some cases if teeth cannot be saved. Whatever your circumstances are, a periodontist can help you find the most appropriate treatment option while keeping as many of your teeth as possible.
Stage 4: Severe Periodontitis (with potential for the loss of all teeth)
By the time you reach stage 4 of periodontitis, many of your teeth have already been removed or lost, and the ones that remain are likely loose and soon to fall out. During this stage, the jaw's bone structure has completely failed. Without gum or bone support, the teeth are no longer strong and stable. You exert a great deal of force when chewing, and by this point, your supporting bone can no longer support your chewing.
Treatment is absolutely essential at this point. Diabetes and heart disease are two significant risks associated with advanced periodontal disease. While losing all teeth is likely inevitable once this stage is reached, it is essential to maintain good hygiene and make regular appointments with a periodontist to prevent problems from worsening. Even though periodontitis cannot be reversed once it has been diagnosed, it is still necessary to treat it.