The Three Levels of Periodontal Gum Disease

If you have been reading our blog, you know that gum disease is dangerous for both your teeth and your health.  When given a diagnosis of gum disease, your dentist may have used different words that represent different stages of the disease.  In this post we will explain what those names mean.

Gingivitis – this is the earliest stage of periodontal disease.  Symptoms include red, swollen, or tender gums that are inflamed, but there may be no obvious symptoms at all. This is the best time to catch it because in most cases there is no permanent damage at this level.  Treatment may include a thorough professional cleaning, home care recommendations, and possibly repairing any dental issues that make it hard for you to reach and clean areas of your mouth.

Periodontitis – at this stage, the plaque on the teeth has hardened into calculus (tartar) and created new places for bacteria to live that you can’t easily clean.  Your gums may have started to recede and the pockets between your gums and teeth are getting deeper as the bone that supports your teeth is being lost.  These pockets will be harboring bacteria and infection that will worsen if prompt action isn’t taken.  Treatment at this level may include a series of deep professional cleanings by the hygienist, antibiotic therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Advanced Periodontitis – when the disease reaches this level, the infection is out of control and is destroying the gums and bone that support teeth.  Teeth are likely to be lost and there will be bone loss throughout your mouth.  There will be a higher risk of the infection getting into the bloodstream and spreading to other areas of your body.  This condition can also have an impact on diabetes and heart health, possibly even more. Treatment may include a series of professional cleanings, antibiotics, and surgery.  Since teeth are likely to be lost at this point, there will also be additional work to restore your teeth or create dentures.

Periodontal disease is not something you want to ignore.  It is a serious infection that just happens to be in your mouth.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see a dentist right away.  They will be able to help you get your dental health back under control.

If you are in the Knoxville area, we would love to help. (865) 922-1613

Oral sedation dentistry is available.