How Deep Can Gum Disease Really Go?
Posted on 1/11/2021 by Alexandra Garcia DDS MS
|Gum disease is quite common and can also be profoundly serious if it is not treated. In addition to damaging your gum tissue, gum disease also affects your teeth, jaw, and overall health. Read on to learn about the different stages of periodontal disease and understand how deep it goes.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis only affects your gum tissue and not your teeth or the rest of your mouth. At this point, you may experience swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing your teeth, bad breath, and an unpleasant or metallic taste in your mouth. Luckily, gingivitis can be reversed before it progresses into more advanced stages of periodontal disease. A thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup, combined with being diligent about your oral hygiene at home every day, can put a stop to early gum disease and prevent further damage, including tooth loss.
Moderate Gum Disease
If gingivitis is not treated, gum disease continues to develop and become more severe. Moderate gum disease occurs when your gum tissue begins receding from your teeth, and the spaces between your teeth known as “gum pockets” get deeper and deeper. These areas can easily accumulate food particles, plaque, and bacteria, which leads to infection. Healthy gums have a pocket depth of between one to three millimeters, while a depth of four millimeters or more indicates some degree of gum disease, with greater than seven millimeters being a sign of advanced periodontitis.
During the moderate stage of gum disease, you might experience heightened tooth sensitivity and discomfort while eating and brushing. Additionally, your teeth may visibly appear longer due to your gums receding, and you might even be able to see spaces between your teeth. Treatment options for moderate gum disease include scaling and root planing procedures as well as antibiotics.
When moderate gum disease continues to progress, your teeth and jawbone are now affected in addition to your gums. This stage is known as advanced periodontitis. Your gum tissue has pulled away from your teeth enough to loosen them, and your jawbone is weakened, which eventually results in tooth loss. You might also develop painful abcesses at the roots of your teeth or on your gums. If left untreated, your infection can spread and potentially be fatal. Advanced periodontitis cannot be reversed, but there are different treatments available. You may require a combination of root canal, gum pocket reduction surgery, tissue or bone graft, or gum tissue regeneration treatments. If you have already lost one or more teeth due to gum disease, we can discuss the different restorative options available to you.
It is important to treat gum disease as soon as you show early signs to prevent it from progressing and causing serious problems, including tooth loss. If you have any signs of gum disease, call us today.