three stages of gum disease

Three Stages of Gum Disease

three stages of gum diseaseThousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

Do you ever notice a little pink in the sink when you brush your teeth? Maybe your gums even appear red, tender, or swollen. If you experience any of these symptoms, you could have gum disease. Did you know that gum disease usually doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort initially? This is probably why about half of adults in the U.S. have some stage of gum disease and don’t even know it!

With that said, there are other signs of gum disease that Agoura Hills dentists Drs. Kathleen Carson and Cristina Markiewicz want you to know about. Since we believe that healthy gums are the foundation of a healthy and beautiful smile, we want to share with you some information on what you need to know about the three stages of gum disease.

Stage 1 – Gingivitis

The first sign of gum disease begins as gingivitis, which may present symptoms such as gums that are red, swollen, and that bleed easily. At this point, your body is trying to tell you something that it is fighting against plaque build-up on your teeth. As plaque accumulates, it harbors bacteria that cause gum infections and cavities, and this bacteria causes gum irritation.

Gingivitis can be caused by hormone fluctuations such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, but also can be caused by not taking good care of your teeth or as a side effect from certain medications or health conditions like diabetes. Whatever may be the cause of your gum disease, you can reverse it at this stage. Be diligent about brushing and flossing daily at home, and go see your dental hygienist for a good dental cleaning and checkup twice a year to have any plaque build-up removed.

Stage 2 – Periodontitis

If you choose to ignore the fact that you have gingivitis, then it eventually progresses into periodontitis. At this point, irreversible damage has been done to your oral health. Infection begins to settle in eroding your gums and pulling them away from your teeth forming what are called perio pockets that harbor even more bacteria and provide access for this harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Also, the bacteria now can reach your jawbone and tooth sockets causing teeth to become loose and unstable. 

At this point, it is impossible for even the most diligent at-home oral hygiene regimen to clean these pockets. Only a professional deep cleaning or scaling and root planing can remove plaque and bacteria from the perio pockets below the gum line. While periodontitis can be stopped, its effects cannot be reversed.

Stage 3 – Advanced Periodontitis

At this stage, gum disease has reached its worst by causing severe infections below the gum line, and even causing teeth to become so loose that they require extraction or just fall out on their own. The bacteria also will cause foul smelling breath and a persistent bad taste in the mouth.

Treatment at this stage requires surgery. Usually, laser dentistry can treat advanced periodontitis without the need for traditional surgery or extensive recovery. However, it is essential to your oral health, and your overall health, to treat advanced gum disease, or any stage of gum disease if you have it. Otherwise, the condition will only get worse and cause health implications. Plus, gum disease is contagious! Yes, that is right. You can spread the harmful bacteria from your mouth to your significant other or anyone else that you kiss, or with whom you share eating utensils. Gum disease can only be stopped with professional treatment at the dentist.

Gum Disease Treatment in Agoura Hills

If you are dealing with gum disease at any stage, we can help. Learn more or schedule an evaluation by calling Integrative Dental Arts at  (818) 889-0400. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.