Do your gums bleed? Tender gums that bleed easily can be the first warning sign of gum disease: gingivitis. Gingivitis can progress into more advanced stages of gum disease if it’s not treated, threatening your oral health.
Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, and her experienced team at Dr. Darj Dental in El Paso, Texas, diagnose and treat gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease. Here, we explain the four stages of periodontal disease and how we treat it.
Four stages of gum disease
Gingivitis is a common condition and also the first stage of gum disease. Periodontal disease is broken up into four different stages.
Gingivitis is often characterized by tender, bleeding gums. You might only notice the bleeding when you brush your teeth.
Even if your gums don’t hurt, it’s important to take action. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease — and it’s reversible. The best defense against gingivitis is good oral hygiene, regular dental exams, and routine dental cleanings.
Early periodontal disease
When gingivitis progresses to early periodontal disease, you might notice your gums are more inflamed. During this stage, your gums start to pull away from your teeth, creating gaps between your gums and your teeth. These gaps are called periodontal pockets.
Because bacteria and food can get stuck in these pockets, infections are common. Infections and bacterial toxins can damage your jawbone, increasing the risk of tooth loss.
The best defense against early periodontal disease is scaling and root planing. This procedure removes bacteria, tartar, and other debris below your gumline. Studies show that scaling and root planing is an effective gum disease treatment for individuals whose gum disease has advanced from gingivitis to early periodontal disease.
Moderate periodontal disease
If periodontitis continues to advance, your symptoms become more severe. Because inflammation spreads, you may notice more discomfort during this stage. You may also notice that your gums recede more, and your teeth may seem wiggly.
As with early periodontitis, Dr. Darj may suggest a scaling and root planing to thoroughly clean all the way to the bottom of each periodontal pocket and to smooth out your tooth roots so your gums can reattach.
Advanced periodontal disease
Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. This severe infection can lead to:
- Red and swollen gums
- Receding gums
- The presence of pus, which is a sign of an infection
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Discomfort when chewing
- Halitosis, or severe bad breath
- Loosening of teeth and the eventual loss of teeth
- Bone loss
At this stage, you may require several different treatments, including scaling and root planing, antibiotics, and replacing any missing teeth. The number of scaling and root planing treatments you need depends on the severity of your gum disease. Dr. Darj can explore your tooth replacement options with you, such as dentures or implants.
Get treatment for periodontal disease
Treating periodontal disease promptly is important. At Dr. Darj Dental, we offer in-office treatments to help clear the infection, but we also take the time to teach you better hygiene habits to help support your oral care at home and prevent the progression of gum disease.
Don’t wait until gum disease advances. Give us a call when you notice the earliest signs of gum disease. You can request an appointment through our online portal or by calling our office, at 915-213-4097.