Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is sometimes referred to as the silent disease because many patients don’t realize they have gum disease until it has reached the most advanced stage. While some patients experience noticeable symptoms of gum disease, other patients don’t experience any signs.
Visiting the dentist at least twice a year for routine screenings and exams can help them identify any early warning signs of gum disease and get you one step closer to optimal gum health.
Sterling, VA dentist Dr. Zahra Kavianpour and our team at Brighter Smile Family Dentistry and Orthodontics are trained to identify and diagnose the various stages of gum disease. We recommend patients visit our Sterling, VA dental practice at least twice a year for a routine gum disease screening.
During your screening, our team can assess the condition of your gums and teeth and check for any signs of gum disease. With the results from your exam, we can build a comprehensive treatment plan that can help improve your gum and overall dental health.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease will progress through several stages. With proper treatment, it will disappear in the early stages. Each stage typically has distinct symptoms however every patient is different. The basic stages of periodontal disease include:
This is the earliest and mildest stage of gum disease. Some patients with gingivitis may not experience any symptoms at all. However, most people with gingivitis will experience plaque build-up and red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Bleeding gums common occurs with flossing and brushing. With early intervention, this stage of gum disease may be reversed before extensive damage is done.
Without treatment, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis. This is a much more aggressive stage of gum disease. Here, the infection has spread below the gum line. This causes the gums to pull away from the teeth which leads to periodontal pockets. Bacteria will begin to build up here and attack the underlying bone structure and tissue that hold the teeth together. Symptoms of early periodontitis include halitosis, gum recession, sensitive teeth, periodontal pockets, and early stage bone loss.
Without treatment, the damage to your oral structure will progress and become more noticeable. Damage to the teeth and underlying bone structure will become more evident. The periodontal pockets will become deeper allowing for more bacteria to enter and thrive. This will only further the amount of damage to everything below the gum line. Symptoms of moderate periodontitis loosening of the teeth, gaps beginning to form between the teeth, and more noticeable bone loss.
Advanced periodontitis is when there is irreversible damage to most or all of your oral structures. This is the most advanced stage of gum disease. Most of the supporting structures of the teeth are damaged. The teeth are either unstable, shifting, falling out, or will require extraction. Gum recession is severe and there may be gum abscesses. Bone loss is inevitable and severe. Patients may need periodontal surgery or other major dental work.
Signs of Gum Disease
If you notice one or more of these signs, be sure to visit our office for a gum disease screening.
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Mouth sores
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Shifting teeth
- Bleeding gums
Our team can discuss your symptoms and perform a full comprehensive exam to determine if you are at risk for gum disease.
Treatment Options For Gum Disease Sterling, VA
The type of treatment you receive will depend on the stage of gum disease and the severity of damage to the teeth, gums, and surrounding bone structure. Dr. Zahra Kavianpour will perform a full mouth exam to determine which stage of periodontal disease you are in. Then she can recommend the best treatment for you and you can begin the healing process.
Pocket Reduction Surgery: This surgery aims to treat deep periodontal pockets that form around the gum line. During surgery, your periodontist will open, clean, and reshape the periodontal pockets. Reducing the size of periodontal pockets can help prevent bacterial growth in our gums.
Free Gingival Graft: This gum graft surgery thickens thinning gums for patients who do not have tooth-root exposure. It also helps prevent further gum recession.
Connective Tissue Graft: This graft is for patients who have an exposed tooth root. We cover the exposed tooth roots and recontour the gum line.
Antibiotics: We may recommend a short-term antibiotic rinse to help remove harmful bacteria from the teeth and gums.
Scaling and Root Planing: This is an intense deep cleaning of the areas above and below the gum line. The goal of treatment is to remove tartar and plaque build-up from the teeth, gums, and tooth roots.
Periodontal Therapy FAQs
Please read through our frequently asked questions about periodontal disease. If you have further questions, please call our dentist office during regular business hours.
What are the stages of gum disease?
There are four stages of gum disease: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first and only stage of gum disease that can be reversed. Plaque and tartar buildup irritates your gum tissue. Your gums are tender and prone to bleeding. Slight periodontal disease occurs when the gum infection has reached the bone.
Once the infection has reached the stage of moderate periodontal disease it has reached your bloodstream and immune system. This can cause tooth loss and excessive gum bleeding. If you are already at this stage and have lost teeth, we can recommend dental implants or other teeth replacement options.
The last and most serious stage of gum disease is advanced periodontal disease. You experience a lot of pain and are at high risk for bone loss. We perform periodontal therapy for each stage but gum disease is only reversible in the first and second stages.
What increases the risk for periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be genetic, but there are other factors that can put people at a higher risk to develop gum disease. Smoking or chewing tobacco, select prescription medications, and pregnancy may put people at a higher risk to develop periodontal diseases.
Is bad breath an early symptom of gum disease?
Since gum disease does causes bad breath, it can be an early sign. Mouthwash and dental cleanings can help with this. If bad breath is persistent with efforts to get rid of it then you may want to mention it to your dentist as a concern.
Does scaling and root planing hurt?
Scaling and root planing does cause some discomfort for most patients. However, everyone will have their own experience. If you require local anesthetic, we can use it to numb the area being treated. This is minimize your pain and discomfort during the procedure.
Periodontal Therapy in Sterling, VA
If you notice any changes in your gum or overall dental health, visit our office for a dental exam and periodontal therapy evaluation. Explore your treatment options for gum disease in Sterling, VA. Schedule an appointment today: call 703.444.3412 or request an appointment online.