Nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 in the United States have some stage of gum disease, although this subject is rarely discussed outside of dental offices. This inflammatory disease can lead to a myriad of health problems inside the mouth, as well as increase one’s risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes. In this blog, Dr. Lance Porter and Dr. Will Warren of Porter Dental Health Clinic explain the stages of gum disease so that their patients have a better understanding of periodontal health.
Stages of Gum Disease
When plaque accumulates around the gumline, toxins start to irritate the gum tissue. The easiest sign to spot is bleeding while flossing and brushing. Other symptoms of gingivitis include bad breath, swollen gums and receding gums. Many times, the symptoms are mild and painless enough that patients do not notice or develop concern for this condition. However, gingivitis should be identified and taken seriously because it can progress to periodontitis if unaddressed.
As gum deterioration persists, gaps form beneath the gum line, making it easier for plaque, bacteria and food particles to become trapped. The symptoms associated with gingivitis intensify, usually becoming difficult to ignore. What’s more, the teeth start becoming looser and more sensitive because the bone and fibers that keep the teeth steady get weaker.
In this final stage of gum disease, the jawbone can no longer adequately support the teeth. As a result, the teeth become loose and can shift out of alignment. This can impact the quality of your bite, and even lead some teeth to fall out of the mouth. Once periodontitis occurs, much of the damage cannot be undone, which is even more reason for patients to address gum disease as soon as it is recognized.
Treating Gum Disease
Fortunately, the dental team at Porter Dental Health Clinic has solutions for treating gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. The first and often best option is scaling and root planing, a non-surgical procedure where the dentist scrapes away at the plaque and tartar on the teeth above and below the gumline. This part is known as scaling. Next, the dentist smooths out the uneven surfaces on the roots of the teeth so that the gums can more easily reattach to the teeth. This portion is known as planing. With advanced periodontitis, surgery may be necessary.
If you need periodontal treatment, or simply want to have a professional check up on your gum health, please make an appointment at our office in Hot Springs, Arkansas. You can book online or call (501) 624-2778.