Periodontitis is a disease of the gum and bone surrounding the teeth, resulting from ongoing infection and inflammation. This disease begins with gingivitis and can advance through three different stages of periodontitis. According to the CDC, approximately 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 and 70.1% of adults over the age of 65 have periodontal disease. There are a number of symptoms of which you should be aware and contact Glen Perio immediately if you experience any of them.
In general, periodontitis is discovered based on infection and inflammation in the gums. This causes gums to appear red and swollen and they may also bleed. Bleeding is especially noticeable when you brush your teeth. Other symptoms include a receding gum line or teeth appearing longer, difficulty chewing, loose or sensitive teeth, changes in your bite or fit of dental equipment, and ongoing bad breath.
Periodontitis is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, which allows bacteria to build up in the gums over time. However, there are a variety of risk factors to consider as well. Smoking and other substance use can damage the gums, leaving them susceptible to infection. Injury or maldevelopment in the teeth can cause infection or make them harder to clean. Stress, heredity, and the presence of other immune-compromising diseases can also leave you susceptible to periodontitis.
Periodontitis always begins with gingivitis, both of which are commonly referred to as gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease and the only one that is reversible. Once you progress past gingivitis, you will need ongoing treatment for life. This stage only affects the gums, not the bone, which is why it is reversible. Symptoms include occasional bad breath, gum inflammation, and bleeding. Oral hygiene and routine cleanings can treat this stage.
The next stage is slight periodontal disease. This is not reversible, but it is very manageable. In this stage, the infection spreads into the bone tissue, causing bone loss. Treatment for this, and the following stages, involve routine deep cleanings at our office in addition to oral hygiene practices at home. Symptoms of slight periodontal disease include gum inflammation, ongoing bad breath, bleeding, and gum pockets which are four to five millimeters in depth.
Slight periodontal disease progresses to moderate periodontal disease. In this stage, periodontitis continues to affect the bones but also affects the bloodstream and immune system as well. Symptoms are similar here except that the gum pockets are now six to seven millimeters in depth. This can progress to bone loss, gum sensitivity, additional bleeding, and teeth shifting if left untreated.
The final stage is advanced periodontal disease. This comes with a 50% to 90% risk of bone loss and the bacteria has now developed in a disease-causing strain. This causes bone loss, inflamed and oozing gums, sensitivity, pain, loose teeth, and severe bad breath. At this point, surgery is needed to clear the bacteria pockets and repair any underlying tissue damage. Left untreated, advanced periodontal disease can cause the need for tooth extraction and dental restorations. Call Glen Perio at 224-488-3392 for more information on periodontal disease.