How serious is gum disease?

Almost all adults will experience some level of gum disease at some stage in their lives, so it’s important that you know this is a very normal issue to deal with, and not something you should ever feel embarrassed about. That said, if left untreated, gum disease can lead to a huge range of health issues that in some cases can be quite serious.

But how serious is gum disease, and what are the signs you need to look out for? Today, we’re looking more at periodontal disease, how it presents itself and the risks associated with each gum disease stage.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as Periodontitis is a pretty common condition which affects the tissues around the teeth, leaving them red, swollen and tender. It isn’t typically painful, but over time it can become more uncomfortable as the condition progresses. If left untreated, the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) can quickly lead to gum recession, bleeding gums and even tooth loss.

What are the different stages of gum disease?

Although serious if left, gum disease is a condition which progresses over time, which means that there are a few different stages you should be aware of. Recognising the stages means that you have a better chance of treating the condition before it has a chance to become more severe, so let’s take a look.

Stage 1 – Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the official name given to the initial stages of gum disease. Mild gingivitis is easily treated and is usually a result of a plaque build-up on the surface of the tooth. The symptoms of gingivitis usually include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Mild bleeding when brushing

It’s usually painless, so can be tricky to identify if you’re not regularly checking your teeth and gums.

Stage 2 – Moderate 

If you have been experiencing the initial symptoms of gingivitis for some time but haven’t sought treatment, your gum disease won’t go away. In fact, it will develop over time to become moderate periodontitis, which just means it’s harder to treat and can begin impacting the joints between the root of the tooth and its socket. The type of damage that moderate gum disease causes are unfortunately irreversible.

Stage 3 – Chance of tooth loss

Severe gum disease will pose a much higher risk of tooth loss, but it’s still usually painless, so it can easily go unnoticed if you’re not taking extra note of the condition of your mouth. The common symptoms associated with more severe gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Longer looking teeth because of gum recession 
  • Loose teeth
  • Localised swelling

There’s a wide range of treatment options that may be offered to you at this point.

Stage 4 – Severe

At stage 4, you’re almost certainly going to lose some or all of your natural teeth, and most people who reach this stage of gum disease have already lost some teeth. This is because there isn’t enough gum or bone to hold the teeth in place, so any that are left may be wobbly.  

Treatment at this stage is critical to prevent further bone loss, not to mention the other more serious health issues that stage 4 gum disease can have, including diabetes or heart attack.

Signs of gum disease? Here’s what to do

We understand that the idea of seeking treatment for gum disease, especially if it’s painless, may seem daunting. However, leaving this type of issue to manifest will almost certainly lead to more severe issues down the line, with more invasive treatment being required.

The good news is that the earlier stages of gum disease can last for many months and are pretty straight forward to treat. So, the sooner you see a dentist, the quicker and easier your treatment will be.

Specialist dentists like Al-Fa Perio specialise in the innovative treatment of gum disease at all stages, including the diagnosis and prevention of gum disease. Using laser dentistry techniques, they’re able to offer a range of minimally invasive treatments, such as gum recession treatment, in a way that’s relatively painless, safe and less invasive.If you’re interested in finding out more about non-surgical periodontal therapy or laser therapy, or would like to speak with a member of Al-Fa Perio’s team about your gum disease symptoms, just get in touch with them by calling on 020 8506 0701 or emailing at info@al-faperio.co.uk.

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