What Are the Three Stages of Periodontal Disease?

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Periodontal disease is an infection mainly caused by tartar and plaque buildup. Typically the result of inadequate brushing and flossing habits, periodontal disease can affect your oral and overall health without the correct treatment. It is important to seek dental help as soon as you notice the early signs of gingivitis. Gingivitis refers to the early stages of gum disease and is reversible. However, there are three phases of periodontal disease, and familiarizing yourself with them is the first step toward prevention. Read on to learn more from Dr. Kevin Boulard and the caring team at Something To Smile About in Merrimack, NH.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is a condition that causes swollen, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Plaque buildup is the primary cause of periodontal disease. If tartar and plaque are not removed daily with good brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings, periodontal disease can happen. Other factors that increase a person's risk of developing gum disease in Merrimack, NH include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications that cause dry mouth or reduce the natural flow of saliva

What are the periodontal disease stages?

Gum, or periodontal disease, has three main phases. Although a dentist should officially diagnose it, it's essential to know the periodontal disease stages and recognize any symptoms to get treatment help.

1. Gingivitis

The first stage is the most common and is reversible because it has not yet had time to attack the bone structure. There are a few early gum disease signs due to tartar and plaque buildup around the teeth. The early stage of gingivitis often involves occasional bad breath, red or swollen gums, and bleeding after brushing and flossing.

2. Early periodontitis

Without treatment, gingivitis can advance into a more severe condition known as periodontitis. Healthy gums should be firm and pinkish, supporting each tooth. When gingivitis symptoms worsen, the periodontitis stage begins to impact a person's gum tissue and bone structure. Signs of periodontitis, like gingivitis, can be swollen, red, bleeding gums, and bad breath, along with pus between the teeth and gums or spaces developing between the teeth and gumline. Some patients can even experience loose teeth, causing bite occlusion issues.

3. Advanced periodontitis

Once gingivitis has set in, it is imperative to seek help from a dentist to remove tartar and plaque buildup for a healthy smile. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into other periodontal disease stages. Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of this oral disease. In addition to bone loss, it can cause red, swollen gums that ooze pus and make it painful to chew. Patients generally experience severe halitosis, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and deep spaces or gaps between teeth.

Want to learn more about the periodontal disease stages?

If left untreated, gum or periodontal disease can progress to bone and tooth loss. Treating periodontal disease is essential, along with regular visits to the dentist and practicing daily oral hygiene habits. Dr. Kevin Boulard is a skilled, experienced dentist who can diagnose, prevent, and treat gum disease, so you can enjoy healing gums and protect your smile. To learn more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Boulard, contact Something To Smile About in Merrimack, NH.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.