- Gum disease (Periodontitis)
- What is the difference between periodontitis and gingivitis?
- What are the stages of periodontitis?
- What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
- What are the different types of periodontitis?
- What are the causes, risk factors and prevention for periodontitis?
- How is periodontitis diagnosed and treated?
- FAQ regarding gum disease
What are the stages of periodontitis?
Periodontitis begins as inflammation (gingivitis) and progresses over time. The following explains the stages of the infection:
Inflammation – This is known as gingivitis
Periodontitis initially begins as gingivitis which is the inflammation of the gums. One of the initial symptoms of gingivitis is bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing your teeth.
You may also notice your teeth have some discolouration, this is due to the build-up of plaque. Plaque consists of food debris and bacteria that have accumulated on your teeth.
Bear in mind, every one of us has bacteria present in our mouths at any given time, however, the bacteria become harmful when certain conditions allow for rapid growth resulting in a bacterial infection. This is often the case in those with poor oral hygiene or a suppressed immune system. Gingivitis is a reversible condition and this can be achieved by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day, flossing once a day and attending regular check-ups with your dentist and having your teeth professionally cleaned.
During the initial stages of infection, your gums will begin to recede from the teeth they surround and form the larger pockets between the teeth and gums. These pockets collect debris and bacteria, the more bacteria present, the worse the infection is. The body’s immune system will attempt to defend itself against the infection and as a result, your gums will recede further. You will suffer from further bleeding of your gums when brushing and flossing.
If periodontitis is left untreated and progresses past the initial phase to moderate periodontitis or periodontal disease, you may start to experience some pain and bleeding around your gums and teeth. Your teeth may also start to lose their bone support and loosen gradually. This stage of the infection is also able to cause inflammation (an inflammatory response) throughout your body.
During the advanced stage of the infection, connective tissue holding the teeth in place will start to deteriorate and breakdown. The bones, gums and surrounding oral tissue will be destroyed as a result.
If you suffer from advanced periodontitis, then you may have symptoms of pain when chewing, halitosis (bad breath), as well as an unpleasant taste in your mouth. You are likely to suffer from tooth loss at this stage and will require immediate professional attention and treatment so as to prevent further loss.