Gum disease has become extremely common and affects millions of Americans. It is often a silent disease and is not caught if patients do not consistently visit the dentist. There are different stages of the disease and different treatment options depending on each stage. The disease begins with gingivitis, followed by periodontitis, with the final stage being advanced periodontitis. Descriptions and symptoms for each stage are listed below.
- Gingivitis begins when brushing and flossing are neglected or done incorrectly, which then leads to a buildup of plaque. Sometimes the plaque is visible but the main symptoms are red or swollen gums, chronic bad breath, and bleeding from gums after brushing.
- When gingivitis is not treated, it leads to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes plaque from your teeth to grow underneath the gum line. There are pockets that form which separates your teeth from the bone. Symptoms can include loose teeth and damage to the bones.
- Advanced periodontitis means the tissue around the bone has deteriorated around your teeth. Symptoms include loose teeth and extensive treatment is required.
Treatment options vary depending on the stage of the disease. Luckily gingivitis can be reversed relatively quickly. All the buildup of plaque is removed and better oral health practices will prevent the disease from reappearing. Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis is treated based on the severity of the disease. If the disease is still manageable, the pockets will be cleaned in order to prevent damage to the bone. When this is not an option, surgery may be the treatment route. Surgery options include flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, and tissue regeneration. Dr. Friedberg’s office will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will work best with your condition. However, the best way to avoid any stage of gum disease is to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, mouthwash, get regular cleanings and avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.