In most areas of your body, once your system senses a threat like an infection or injury, it responds by trying to fight off bacteria or help to speed healing. Unfortunately, when it comes to the tissues in your mouth, things can be a little more complicated. Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection that colonizes in the gingival tissue. If treated promptly, the effects of mild inflammation can be reversed. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, it can destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone, which can eventually cause tooth loss. Allowing gum disease to progress can also lead to higher risks of overall health problems. There are different treatments for different stages of gum disease.
Gingivitis is easy to overlook, which is what gives it the potential to be dangerous. Gingivitis (which is the mild inflammation mentioned above) is highly treatable. The most effective form of treatment at this early stage is good oral hygiene. A deeper dental cleaning may be recommended to remove plaque and tartar accumulations.
If left untreated, simple gingivitis can progress into early periodontal disease. Early periodontitis is marked by inflamed gum tissue and gingival pocket depths of between 4-5 millimeters. If you have early periodontal disease, your gums may bleed more readily during flossing and professional cleanings. Your gums may have begun to recede. A scaling and root planing can be recommended at this stage to remove layers of built-up tartar and smooth out the surfaces of the teeth.
Early periodontitis can morph into moderate periodontitis, if oral hygiene remains poor and the condition stays untreated. At this stage, moderate levels of bone loss can occur. Pain may be felt as gum recession can make the teeth sensitive and uncomfortable. As gums continue to pull away from the teeth, the teeth can become loose. At this stage, oral infections can spread through your bloodstream and start causing an inflammatory response throughout your body.
By the time advanced periodontitis sets in, the gingival pockets around the teeth can be at a depth of around 7 millimeters, which is over a quarter of an inch. There may be severe pain while chewing, chronic bad breath, and even a consistent bad taste in the mouth. Tooth loss can happen due to the deep pockets, and the other teeth can begin to shift.
Is your smile facing a stage of gum disease?
Dr. Everett can help you at any stage of gum disease. To schedule a consultation at High Plains Periodontics, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 806-686-1262. Dr. Everett’s office serves the residents of Lubbock, TX, and surrounding West Texas communities.