Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs in stages that become more destructive the more they advance. The stages of gum disease are as follows:
Gingivitis — The first stage and mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is usually characterized by minor tenderness and swelling in the gums. At this stage, the infection is reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional periodontal services like regularly scheduled deep cleanings from Dr. Briglia.
Initial Periodontitis — Once gingivitis advances to initial periodontitis, the infection begins to attack the bone and the damage can’t be reversed. Fortunately, the damage can still be stopped with deep cleaning and proper oral hygiene. This stage is usually characterized by your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth, although you may not notice any pain.
Moderate Periodontitis — Bearing many similarities to the initial stage, moderate periodontitis involves more advanced damage to the ligaments and bones attaching your teeth to your gums. Additionally, the infection is now capable of entering your bloodstream and spreading to other parts of your body.
Advanced Periodontitis — The most destructive stage of gum disease, advanced periodontitis often causes noticeably bad breath, pain, pus-filled abscesses, and makes permanent tooth loss a much more likely occurrence. At this stage, you’ll require frequent deep cleaning sessions and will likely need to undergo surgery to try and save your teeth.
Treating & Preventing Periodontal Disease With Periodontal Services
Proper Oral Hygiene and Regular Dental Exams
The best treatment for periodontal disease is prevention. Dr. Briglia suggests all his patients practice proper at-home oral hygiene to prevent oral health issues like periodontal disease. Proper oral hygiene includes:
- Brushing for at least two minutes twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Rinsing between meals
However, even patients with the most diligent at-home dental care routines can develop oral health issues. You shouldn’t rely solely on at-home care, as the untrained eye can easily miss issues that start below the surface such as periodontal disease. To effectively protect your smile and get the most out of your at-home care, visit Dr. Briglia at least once every six months for regular dental exams.
Additionally, you can help prevent gum disease by changing your daily habits to promote your overall health and wellbeing. Some changes you may consider incorporating into your life to prevent gum disease include:
- Staying hydrated
- Reducing your sugar intake
- Exercising regularly
- Stop using tobacco
- Limit or cease alcohol consumption
Non-Surgical Periodontal Services: Root Planing & Scaling
To treat periodontal disease, Dr. Briglia recommends non-surgical periodontal services, including a deep cleaning method called root planing and scaling. Root planing and scaling is a process where your dentist removes excess plaque, tartar, and bacteria from around your teeth and below the gum line to remove and stop the progression of infection.
During the scaling phase of the procedure, your dentist will remove the bacteria from beneath your gum line and around your teeth. In the root planing phase, your roots will be smoothed to help prevent bacteria from reaccumulating and to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Not only will this process help remove bacteria-laden plaque and tartar to enhance your oral health, but it will also drastically improve the appearance of your smile.