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What Happens If You Don't Treat Gum Disease?

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Gum disease is an infection of the gums that is caused by poor oral hygiene. When plaque is left to build upon the teeth and harden, periodontal disease develops. When this is left untreated, it can result in damage to the jaw and even tooth loss. There are many stages of periodontal disease that our periodontal specialists at Premier Periodontics can treat. We offer surgical and nonsurgical gum disease treatments at each of our seven Washington locations, including Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, and Redmond.

Symptoms of gum disease

Gum disease can be silent, meaning that symptoms don’t always appear until someone already has an advanced stage of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red, tender, or swollen gums

  • Mouth sores

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing

  • Receding gums

  • Loose or separating teeth

  • Pus between the gums and teeth

  • Persistent bad breath

  • A change in the bite

If you suspect you have gum disease, our periodontal specialists at Premier Periodontics can help diagnose and treat you.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is broken up into four stages:

  1. Gingivitis: This is the only stage that is reversible. This is because it hasn’t attacked the bones yet. Bleeding gums is one of the first symptoms that patients with gingivitis may experience. Most patients with gingivitis have painless symptoms, which is one of the things that makes periodontal disease so common. Proper oral hygiene, and regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings help to treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.

  2. Slight Periodontal Disease: This is the second stage of gum disease, which isn’t reversible; however, it is manageable. Once you reach this stage, the infection has spread to the bone and has damaged the bones. The bacteria have become more aggressive, which makes you susceptible to bone loss. Scaling and root planing is used to deep clean the teeth gums, which removes deposits of bacteria deep in your gums.

  3. Moderate Periodontal Disease: The third stage of periodontal disease has deeper deposits where more bacteria have attacked the bones and the bloodstream. Our periodontal specialists can use scaling and root planing to thoroughly clean your gums.

  4. Advanced Periodontal Disease: The final stage of periodontal disease is when the infection contains disease-causing bacteria. This causes red, swollen gums that contain pus, loose teeth, painful chewing and biting, severe bad breath, and bone loss. This periodontal disease stage requires periodontal surgery or laser therapy with the PerioLase MVP-7 TruePulse. This can clean deep bacteria-filled pockets. When left untreated, it can lead to gaps or spacing between the teeth, gum recession, and other serious health issues.

Treating periodontal disease quickly is imperative for your overall health. At Premier Periodontics, we teach our patients good oral hygiene habits that help them to stop the progression of any stage of periodontal disease.

Long-term risk of untreated periodontal disease

Untreated gingivitis will progress into periodontitis, which is a more severe stage of gum disease. The infection and pockets deepen while eating away at your jaw until your teeth become loose and fall out. As gum disease progresses, the gums begin to recede or separate from the teeth and the jaw bone and form periodontal pockets. This can lead to changes in the bite and pain while chewing or biting.

Periodontal disease treatments

The periodontal disease treatment we choose for you will be determined by which stage of gum disease you have. Treating gum disease as early as possible minimizes damage and any need for surgery.

Some periodontal treatments we offer include:

  1. Dental cleaning: During a routine dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from both above and below the gumline. If any signs of gum disease are suspected, we will recommend you have more frequent dental cleanings.

  2. Scaling and root planing: For cases found early, scaling and root planing is used. This deep-cleaning and nonsurgical procedure is done while the patient is under local anesthesia. It scrapes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth with planing. Smoothing these spots helps remove bacteria and offers a clean surface for the gums to reattach properly.

  3. Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery: For more advanced stages of periodontal disease, surgery may be required. During this procedure, the gums are lifted back, and any tartar is removed. The gums are then placed so that they fit snugly around the tooth or teeth being treated. This helps to reduce the space between the gums and teeth, which limits the chance of bacteria growing and progressing further.

  4. Bone grafts: This uses fragments of the patient’s own bone, donated bone, or a synthetic bone to replace bone that has been destroyed by gum disease. This helps promote the regrowth of the bone, which makes the teeth more durable. Soft tissue grafts are used to reinforce thin gums and to fill in places where gum recession has occurred.

  5. LANAP laser gum surgery: Our periodontal specialists perform this surgery since it is less painful, reduces post-op tooth sensitivity, and requires little downtime after treatment.

Seek treatment for periodontal disease as soon as possible with our periodontal specialists

Gum disease will continue to progress when it is left untreated. At Premier Periodontics, we work with our patients to help them to improve their gum health. For more information and to schedule an appointment with a skilled periodontist at one of our convenient locations in Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, and Redmond, WA, call our dental team today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.