Stages of Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease and what does gum disease look like? Periodontal disease is a common problem that affects 50 percent of Americans.

Good oral hygiene – daily flossing, brushing and visiting the dentist – can go a long way in preventing gum disease, which worsens over time and can lead to heart disease, diabetes and low birth weight babies. So, once you see what does gum disease looks like, you’ll understand why early treatment is so important.

What is Periodontal Disease?  The Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis: The first signs of gum disease are called gingivitis. It can present in various ways and at this stage is reversible. Failure to regularly brush and floss causes an accumulation of plaque to build up and trap bacteria between the gums and teeth. What does gum disease look like when you floss or brush? Bleeding is common and the gums may appear swollen and/or changed from a healthy pink to a reddish hue.

Periodontitis: Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis and it is at this point that patients may become more aware of symptoms that could lead to periodontal disease. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line.  Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums.  The toxins released by bacteria in plaque stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. At this stage gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Gum recession and gaps between the teeth are also common. Immediate treatment is necessary to stop further damage.

Advanced periodontitis: What does gum disease look like in the advanced stage? As gum pockets continue to deepen the bacterial levels are now causing severe bone and connective tissue loss. Teeth are now losing their support structure and are at risk of falling out. This may cause an uneven bite and chewing can be very challenging. Patients who avoid treatment at this stage are in serious danger of losing all of their teeth and may face other complications.

We hope you have a better understanding about what periodontal disease is and why early treatment is so important. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call Dr. Kissel today for a gum disease treatment consultation.