The Stages and Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the product of infections and inflammation in the mouth. While the disease starts in the gums, infection will spread to the bone and the rest of the body. This causes systemic disease and increases the risk of heart attacks, blood clots, strokes, and Alzheimer's disease.
Nearly half of all Americans have some stage of periodontal disease. When the mouth and teeth are neglected, bacteria infect the tissue, creating inflammation in the mouth and developing into different stages of periodontal disease. You can learn more about the condition, including risk factors and treatment, by reading this AAOSH article.
Here’s how to recognize the signs and stages of periodontal disease so you can contact the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry as soon as possible.
Stage One: Gingivitis
The first visible sign is gingivitis which occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and isn't cleaned correctly. It is the only reversible stage of periodontal disease but can be easy to ignore because the warning signs may not be painful or visible.
Inflammation around the gums can cause:
- Oral irritation
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
Proper cleaning and removing buildup to reduce inflammation in the gums are critical to stopping the development of further stages of Periodontal Disease.
Stage Two: Early Periodontal Disease
Early periodontal disease is no longer reversible, but Dr. Rink can manage it with proper periodontal care and cleaning. Inflammation has spread to the bone, causing gums to pull away from the teeth and form periodontal pockets that leave your mouth at risk for infection.
Stage Three: Moderate Periodontal Disease
At Stage 3, inflammation in the gums spreads further into the body, putting the immune system at higher risk for:
- Bone and tooth loss
- Increased bleeding
- Shifting teeth
- Systemic disease
Increasing evidence supports the link between poor oral health and severe health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high-risk pregnancy, and more. It is imperative to consult a periodontist treatment specialist at this stage to manage the disease and stop further progression.
Stage Four: Advanced Periodontal Disease
Stage four is a severe chronic inflammatory disease. At this last stage, the pockets have deepened and are open for further infection, requiring surgery or laser treatment to clean the infected periodontal pockets.
While we cannot reverse advanced periodontal disease, we can manage it. Symptoms include:
- Tender mouth
- Loosening or loss of teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Puss build-up in the gums
When left untreated, the inflammation will spread throughout the body and cause persistent systemic diseases such as:
- Heart attacks
- Alzheimer's disease
Periodontal Disease Warning Signs Are Not Always Visible
You must consult a dentist or periodontist if you have any warning signs. However, these signs are not always visible. Some of the warning signs of periodontal disease include the following:
- Bad breath
- Bone loss
- Loose teeth
- Bad taste
- Bleeding gums
- Sensitive gums
- Painful chewing
- Shifting teeth
- Gum recession
- Changes in the fit of dentures
- Sensitive teeth
- Tooth loss
- Inflamed gums
Because the warning signs of periodontal disease may not be noticeable, regular dental cleanings with a dentist are essential. Periodontal disease can be treated and reversed when caught in the earliest stages.
Dr. Rink Can Help You Recognize the Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
Dr. Rink provides dental services to patients from Charleston, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and all across South Carolina. With regular cleanings and screenings, Dr. Rink can help you recognize the warning signs of periodontal disease and curate a treatment plan. Dr. Rink can achieve impressive and thrilling results through his techniques, and he ensures your treatment experience is comfortable and rewarding from beginning to end.
We offer our Charleston practice the latest patient amenities, state-of-the-art technologies, and oral sedation "sleep" dentistry. Our office has been carefully designed to maximize comfort and efficiency during treatment.