Here is an overview of the stages of periodontal disease, read below for a brief explanation;
Healthy gums - this is when there is no bleeding, the gums are tight (not puffy), and there is no loss of bone height supporting the teeth. This is achieved by regular brushing and flossing and 6 monthly dental cleans.
Gingivitis - this is when the gums first become red and puffy, and you might notice that they bleed in some spots when you’re brushing or flossing. This can be simply treated with general dental cleans by your dental practitioner and your gums will go back to normal health.
Mild periodontal disease - this is when gingivitis is left untreated and the tartar under the gums increases, causing more inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth. This leads to a reduction of the bone levels and an increased gap between the gum and tooth. This is treated with a deep clean. Your gums will be healthy again but there may be some recession of the gums.
Moderate periodontal disease - this is when mild periodontal disease advances and there is even more loss of the bone around the teeth. At this stage you may notice the gaps between your teeth getting bigger, very slight mobility or movement in your teeth, bad breath, bleeding, receding gums, and discolouration of the teeth. This is treated with a with a deep clean that may be done over 4 visits instead of 2. Again your gums will be healthy again but there may be some noticeable recession of the gums and gaps between the teeth (sometimes referred to as ‘black triangles’)
Severe periodontal disease - this is the most advanced stage of gum disease. At this point treatment by a specialist periodontist is usually required, with advanced techniques such as flap surgery and regenerative therapy. You may notice that your teeth have moved and that some of them feel loose. There may also be some significant recession of the gums.
Tooth loss - this is what we want to avoid!! If left too long, unfortunately the loss of bone around the teeth becomes so severe that the teeth either become so loose that they fall out or need to be removed because they are infected and/or uncomfortable. When teeth are lost due to gum disease, it can become difficult to replace them. This is because there is usually minimal bone remaining and replacement options become limited.
So if you think you might have any of the above issues with your gums, see us ASAP!
Early intervention and prevention is key.