A Look at the Different Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious dental condition that requires professional treatment. When left untreated, gum disease becomes progressively worse and jeopardizes your oral health. If your dentist diagnoses you with gum disease, ask him or her how you can fight it. You may need to visit your dentist more frequently for checkups and cleanings, for example. Keep reading for an overview of how gum disease can progress when left untreated.

human teeth

Gingivitis
Gingivitis is another term for the inflammation of the gums. This is the first and mildest stage of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, you’ll notice that your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss. Your gums might also appear more red than usual. Gingivitis occurs when plaque remains on the gum tissues . Your dentist can reverse gingivitis with a professional cleaning. You’ll also receive at-home care instructions for keeping the problem at bay.

Periodontitis
If you do not see your dentist for gingivitis treatment, it will eventually turn into periodontitis. As inflammation continues to affect the gums, they slowly pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets act as traps for food particles and plaque, which allows the infection to delve deeper into the gum tissue. As the infection spreads, the underlying bone structure becomes compromised. To treat periodontitis, your dentist will likely recommend scaling and root planing, which is a deep cleaning procedure to remove the infection. The pockets may also be treated with Arestin®, an antibiotic used to kill bacteria associated with periodontitis. 

Advanced Periodontitis
Untreated periodontitis only becomes worse; the bone and gum tissue continues to deteriorate until your teeth become loose. You’ll notice that your gum line begins to recede. Eventually, you’ll experience tooth loss and will require artificial teeth, such as dental implants. You may also need bone grafting and gum grafting surgeries.

Stop the progression of gum disease promptly with treatments from University Associates in Dentistry . Give us a call at (312) 704-5511 with any questions you might have about scaling and root planing. Our Chicago practice also offers dental implants for those suffering from tooth loss.

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