While more than 3 million cases of gum disease are diagnosed each year, many more with the condition don’t even know they have it. The symptoms of early gum disease can be difficult to recognize, allowing the condition to go untreated until it has progressed to the next stage. It’s important to understand the signs and stages of gum disease in order to seek prompt treatment. With the right intervention, you can reverse the damages of early gum disease while treating the complications that have developed.
What is Gum Disease?
While gum disease (periodontal disease) is often caused from poor oral hygiene, there are many other factors that can lead to the development of the condition, such as genetics and certain medical conditions. No matter the cause, the disease is the result of an infection in the gums caused from an accumulation of bacteria and plaque. If tarter and plaque aren’t removed from the gum line, it causes pockets to form, which become infected. When left untreated, these pockets trap additional bacteria, causing the infection to intensify.
Early Stage of Gum Disease
The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, which is preventable and reversible with the right care. During the initial stage, bacteria around the gum line begins to cause the gums to become infected, resulting in inflammation and irritation. However, there are other signs that the condition may be present, which includes redness, bleeding gums, and tooth sensitivity.
You can easily treat gingivitis by cleaning the gum lines and improving the quality of oral hygiene. When caught early, it can be stopped completely without causing any long term damage. However, when left untreated, gingivitis will progress to the 2nd major stage of gum disease.
Late Stage Gum Disease
The 2nd major stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis, which develops when deep pockets in the gum line develop. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the bacteria causes pockets to form between the teeth and gums. Bacteria becomes trapped in these pockets, causing the infection to intensify. When left untreated, pain and sensitivity develop. Overtime, the infection will spread into supporting structures, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Untreated gum disease doesn’t just impact your oral health, but your overall health as well. The bacteria from the infection can spread into the surrounding bone and blood stream, producing numerous negative consequences throughout the body.
The potential complications associated with untreated gum disease make it incredibly important to seek treatment as soon as you notice signs of gum disease. We will check for gum disease at each routine cleaning and checkup, but if you notice bleeding gums, swollen or red gums, or begin experiencing pain in between appointments, schedule an appointment right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the less severe the damage will be.
Gum Disease Treatment
We offer treatment for all stages of gum disease, as well as preventative services to decrease the risk for gum disease. If you suspect you may have gum disease, please call our office right away at (479) 754-3357.