At What Point Does Gum Disease Become Irreversible?
Posted on 5/25/2019 by Robert Henshaw, DMD
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused by the ongoing infection in the gums, bone and teeth below the gum line. If left untreated, this infection can cause tooth loss and lead to other problems in not only your oral health, but your general health as well.
While it can be treated and reversed, there are different stages of periodontal disease and the longer it is left untreated, the more complex the treatment and reversal can become.
Stages of Gum Disease
Stage one of periodontal disease is commonly called Gingivitis. This is simply infections bacteria that gets into the space between your teeth and gums and begins to get infected. Symptoms of gingivitis can include redness and swelling of the gums, occasional bad breath and bleeding when you floss. The pocket depth generally measures between 2 and 4 mm and the good news is that it hasn't reached the bone yet and the infection is complete reversible.
Stage two and three of periodontal disease can still be unnoticed by the untrained eye. Symptoms of slight to moderate periodontal disease include increased redness of the gums, increased bad breath and bleeding during brushing or flossing. The pocket depth may now measure between 4 to 7mm and generally is not painful. At these stages, the infection has moved deeper and bone loss may occur. The infection and bacteria also begin entering your blood stream which puts stress on your immune system and can affect your overall health.
Advanced periodontal disease is what we refer to as Stage 4. At this point, symptoms may include oozing gums, sensitivity to hot and cold, loose teeth, pain when chewing and severe halitosis. The pocket depth at stage 4 can measure greater than 7mm and if not treated properly can lead to tooth loss and other health problems.
Early detection and treatment is key, so please call our office and schedule your next exam. We look forward to working with you to maintain a healthy smile!
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