Like many medical problems, gum disease is understood in stages that outline the likely progression of the disease. The very first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. In this article, we’ll discuss gingivitis and the progression of gum disease.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It is is the only stage that is reversible. It is characterized by inflammation of the gums (pain) and bleeding of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar at or below the gum line.
During this stage, plaque will form in the spaces between your gums and teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that cause eat away at your gums. Over a long enough time period, the bacteria begin attacking tooth and bone. The tooth can get infection resulting in tooth loss. Tooth loss is made more likely by the added space between the gums and the teeth.
Bleeding while brushing or flossing is a key sign of gingivitis.
Stage 2: Slight Periodontal Disease
Stage two of gum disease is characterized by the worsening of symptoms. The infection begins to spread to the jawbone. Gums begin receding from the teeth. Pockets of plaque between the teeth and gums become more difficult to access and clean. The teeth begin to loosen once the infection gets into the bone. Essentially, the stage is measured by the probing depth of the bacteria itself.
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontal Disease
The third stage has the same or similar symptoms as Stage 2, but the probing depth of the plaque is now deeper than before. At this point, the probing depth of the bacteria is deep enough to attack your bloodstream. At this point, you are in danger of losing teeth.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontal Disease
At stage four, your risk of bone and tooth loss goes up to between 50% and 90%. In some cases, the gums become infected enough to ooze pus. This stage requires periodontal surgery to correct. Worse still, the bone loss caused by the bacterial infection is very difficult to reverse, though modern therapies have shown considerable promise.
Treating Gum Disease Early is of Vital Importance
The earlier you treat gum disease, the better your prognosis will be. The longer gum disease has to advance unimpeded, the more damage it will cause to the gums, bone, and surrounding tissue. Gum disease is serious enough to be life-threatening. Studies have shown that gum disease is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Once the infection goes from your mouth to other areas of your body, the bacteria can begin attacking those areas of the body too. In some cases, the results can be fatal.
Contact Us Today for Help
If your gums bleed when you’re brushing, then there’s a pretty good chance you have gum disease. Before it gets to stage four, you should have a dentist look at the problem. If it’s still in the early stages, we can prevent it from doing serious lifelong damage. Call Peak Family Dental Care today to learn more about how we can help.