GUM DISEASE STAGES

Nearly three-quarters of us suffer from periodontal disease, and many do not seek treatment until the damage is irreversible. In some cases, this could be attributed to a fear of dentistry or possibly neglect. However, many are simply not familiar with gum disease symptoms. Dr. Loyd Dowd advises patients on the importance of recognizing gum disease symptoms before the condition advances. There are three main stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

STAGE 1: GINGIVITIS

In the initial stage of gum disease, plaque has accumulated at the gum line causing irritation and inflammation of the tissue. Bacteria inhabits the plaque, infecting the gum tissue. At this point, damage is minimal and can be reversed.

Gum disease symptoms at stage one include:
• Red, swollen gums
• Bleeding gums
• Bad breath

STAGE 2: PERIODONTITIS

The second stage of gum disease, periodontitis, will damage the bones and connective fibers that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal pockets are created between the teeth and gums that can trap food and bacteria, facilitating greater infection while the gums that serve as a barrier to bacteria shrink down, exposing more of your teeth.

Gum disease symptoms at stage two include:
• Periodontal pockets
• Receding gums

STAGE 3: ADVANCED PERIODONTITIS

The third and final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. At this point, the bacteria that inhabit the plaque on your teeth have been allowed to flourish in your mouth. The periodontal pockets have deepened and the infection has spread, destroying the connective tissue and bone, resulting in loose or shifting teeth.

Gum disease symptoms at stage three include:
• Deepening of the periodontal pockets
• Worsening gum recession
• Loose or shifting teeth
• Changes in bite
• Pus or abscesses

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