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The stages of gum disease

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Gum disease advice

The stages of
gum disease

Gum disease typically has four distinct stages. It’s crucially important to be aware that if periodontal disease is spotted at an early stage, then it is much easier to treat and can even be reversed in some cases. If the disease is allowed to progress to the more advanced stages, it becomes more difficult to treat and surgical intervention is often required. Let’s take a closer look the four stages of gum disease:

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Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common form of mild gum disease, resulting in irritation, redness and swelling around the base of the teeth due to a build-up of plaque. Although the vast majority of gingivitis symptoms are painless and can often go unnoticed, bleeding gums is one of the typical initial symptoms and should never be ignored. Since it is possible to be unaware you have gingivitis, consistently excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits are essential. If gingivitis is diagnosed, it’s easily treatable and potentially reversible.

Stage 2: Slight Periodontal Disease

Whilst this stage of periodontal disease can unfortunately not be reversed, it can be managed with the correct treatment. If gingivitis has progressed to slight periodontal disease, it means the infection has reached the bone and started to affect and damage the bone structure. As periodontal disease advances, the bacteria become more destructive and can subsequently lead to bone loss. Treatment at this stage will ordinarily include extensive cleaning of the gums to remove the deeply-rooted bacteria deposits.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontal Disease

Whilst the symptoms of moderate periodontal disease are the same as slight periodontal disease, the probing depths, or periodontal pockets as they are more commonly known as, are deeper. With a depth of between six and seven millimetres at this stage, this enables the bacteria to make its way into your bloodstream, putting your immune system under strain with the infection. The treatment for both slight and moderate periodontal dental disease are also the same: scaling and root planing. These are intense, deep cleaning procedures that remove bacterial deposits far below the gumline. In the case of moderate disease, the cleaning will need to be deeper.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontal Disease

If the earlier stages of periodontal disease have been ignored and left untreated, the disease will eventually progress to the most serious of the four stages. Advanced periodontal disease threatens a 50-90% chance of irreversible bone loss, leading to the loss of teeth. Symptoms of this final stage include gums that ooze pus, severe pain when chewing, extreme cold sensitivity, halitosis, major bone loss and the movement or loosening of teeth. The only treatment option at this stage is periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy, which works to clean out the deep pockets of bacteria beneath the gums and encourage the infected tissue to heal.
To find out more about treating gum disease please call us on 020 3925 1938 to speak to our friendly team or fill out our contact form.