Hamilton Mountain Dental Group

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gum recession process medically accurate illustration

Receding Gum Stages: Progression of Periodontal Disease

posted January 5, 2024

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health condition that affects the gum tissues around your teeth. It progresses through different stages, increasing in severity if left untreated. Early intervention is crucial to prevent serious complications and tooth loss. This article will delve into the various stages and progression of gum disease, including treatment options at each stage, and the importance of early treatment.

Link Between Gum Recession and Gum Disease

Gum disease and gum recession are closely related, and the extent of gum recession increases with each stage of gum disease, from gingivitis to moderate or advanced periodontitis.

Symptoms and Causes of Gum or Periodontal Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common dental condition that starts with inflammation, redness, and bleeding of the gums, and can worsen if not treated.
Periodontal disease is primarily caused by the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on teeth, and tartar. Over time, this leads to gum irritation and infection, potentially resulting in tooth loss and damage to the surrounding bone. In addition to bleeding and swollen gums, you might start to notice chronic bad breath from this oral bacteria.

Risk factors include poor oral hygiene, smoking, genetic predisposition, and certain medical conditions. Regular dental care, including brushing, flossing, and dental checkups with professional cleanings, is essential for preventing and managing gum disease.

Progressive Stages of Gum Disease and Gum Recession

Early Stage: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is usually characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth. The bacteria irritates the gum tissue.

In gingivitis, gum recession is usually minimal or absent. The gum inflammation and infection is more superficial, and the redness, swelling, and bleeding typically only occurs when you are brushing and flossing.

Management and Treatment

Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible with proper dental care, which includes regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. In some cases, dentists may recommend antimicrobial mouthwashes.
young man gum inflammation color background closeup

Moderate Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. This stage involves inflammation and infection not only in the gums, but as the infection progresses, the supporting structures of the teeth, including the bone and connective tissues, can be damaged.

At this stage, the gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that trap more plaque and bacteria, and gum recession becomes more noticeable in moderate periodontitis.

Management and Treatment

Once this stage of periodontal disease has been reached, it is no longer reversible, although it can be treated to prevent further damage.

There are a few ways that a dentist may treat or manage this condition. Scaling and root planing procedures provide a deep cleaning to remove tartar and bacteria from below the gum line. Antibiotics and antimicrobial mouthwashes can help control infection. Surgical interventions like flap surgery or bone grafts may be necessary to repair damaged tissue and bone.

woman doing scaling root planing dental clinic

Advanced Stage: Advanced Periodontitis

In the most advanced stage of gum disease, the destruction of bone and connective tissue is severe. The damage to the supporting structures of the teeth is extensive, leading to further gum recession and deepening of the pockets around the teeth. At this stage, there can be significant gum recession, which can lead to loose teeth or even tooth loss; the risk of tooth loss is exacerbated by the loss of bone support, too.

Management and Treatment

Tooth extraction for severely compromised teeth may be necessary at this stage. Missing teeth may be replaced by dentures, dental bridges, or dental implants. Gum grafts may be necessary before dental implants are possible. Regular check-ups and cleanings are necessary to manage the disease’s progression.

Importance of Early Treatment

Preventing Tooth Loss

Early intervention is crucial to prevent tooth loss. Gingivitis, if treated promptly, can be reversed, and even in the early stages of periodontitis, the damage can often be halted or reversed. The longer gum disease progresses untreated, the more likely it is to lead to tooth loss.

Reducing Oral and Systemic Health Risks

Gum disease is linked to a range of other oral health concerns, including loss of jaw bone density, and has been linked to various systemic health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. By treating gum disease early, you can reduce these risks.

Cost-Effective Care

Treating gum disease in its early stages is often less expensive and less invasive than treating advanced periodontitis, which may require surgery and tooth replacement. Regular dental check-ups can catch gum disease early, saving you both money and discomfort.

Hamilton Mountain Dental offers preventive and proactive professional cleanings to prevent gum disease or it at the earliest possible stage. In addition, we offer treatments for moderate to advanced periodontal disease, including scaling and root planing and gum graft surgeries to replace lost gum tissue to restore a receding gum line. Our friendly team will develop an individual treatment plan to address your unique situation. If you have any symptoms of gum disease, don’t delay treatment.

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