Regular exams and professional whitening treatments will keep your teeth healthy and appealing, but you still should be concerned about the possibility of developing gum disease. While surprising to hear, 64.7 million adults over the age of 30 have a form of this dental condition. Also known as periodontitis, gum disease can wreak havoc on the overall look and underlying health of your mouth, teeth, and gums.
Although common, gum disease can change your smile in shocking ways. Fortunately, treatment is possible. Using this guide, you will understand the different stages of gum disease and learn the most effective periodontitis treatment to repair your smile.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Without proper brushing and professional cleanings, large amounts of plaque can develop on your teeth, spreading over your entire smile and gums. This spreading of plaque develops into bacteria, creating a case of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
If you are experiencing the following signs and symptoms, you may be suffering with gingivitis:
- Bleeding during and after brushing your teeth
- Discomfort and inflammation of the gums
- Foul smelling breath
- Unappetizing taste in your mouth
- Recession of the gum line
Early intervention is essential for preventing the further development of gum disease. In most cases, your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning to remove plaque buildup. Using antibacterial mouthwash is also beneficial for killing bacteria.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
If your gingivitis is left untreated, you may develop a more involved case of gum disease. Early periodontitis not only causes your gums to feel sore and tender, but light contact of the gums may cause them to bleed.
During this stage, you may also develop deep pockets in the gum tissue. Since bacteria can quickly build up inside these pockets, you may develop infections and severe tooth decay.
Your dentist will suggest a thorough cleaning to remove plaque from the teeth and gums, but a prescription antibiotic and antibacterial mouthwash will also be necessary to treat early periodontitis.
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis
Tender, sore, and bleeding gums with bleeding, tooth discoloration, foul breath, and an involved stage of tooth decay are all signs of moderate periodontitis. Since earlier stages have been left undiagnosed and untreated, the condition may have caused tissue and bone loss as well. This loss increases the risk of tooth loss and broken teeth, greatly reducing the look of your smile.
If you are dealing with this moderate form of periodontitis, you will most likely require a dental scaling before undergoing restoration treatments. Scaling involves removing the heavy buildup of plaque from the teeth using ultrasonic tools. While it may sound painful, a dental scaling treatment is a safe, effective option for patients with gum disease.
Stage 4: Severe Periodontitis
Severe periodontitis is the most advanced form of gum disease, causing intense discomfort in the gums, bleeding, serious gum recession, bone loss, loose teeth, and dangerous infections. Due to its severity, your dentist will need to complete a few steps to treat stage four of your gum disease.
Your dentist may suggest laser technology to remove the infected gum tissue. LANAP, or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, uses lasers to dissolve away plaque, bacteria, and damaged gum tissue. Not only does LANAP offer a safe treatment option for your severe periodontitis, but it can also reduce the condition's pain quickly and repair your receded gum line.
Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist are imperative tasks for a healthy, appealing smile. However, if you do develop gum disease, proper understanding is key to receiving effective treatment. Using this guide on gum disease and the help of a dentist, such as Neu Family Dental Center, you can improve and protect your smile.