Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) affects more than 64 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, many of those affected by this common disease underestimate its severity and long-term repercussions. If you think you have periodontal disease, here’s why it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible.
Periodontal Disease Stages
Periodontal disease develops in stages. The first stage, gingivitis, is the easiest to treat. It occurs when plaque builds up along the gum line and bacteria infect the gum tissue. During this stage of periodontal disease, you will likely notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. You might also notice slight discomfort in the gum tissue. If gingivitis is treated right away, it can be reversed. If left untreated, gingivitis typically progresses to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease and is not reversible. It is characterized by bright red gums that bleed frequently. At this stage, pockets typically begin to form below the gum line. Food and plaque become trapped in these pockets and irreversibly damage the fibers and bone that support the teeth.
As periodontitis progresses to advanced periodontitis, the gum pockets deepen and more bone and gum tissue are irreparably destroyed. Tooth loss frequently occurs during advanced periodontitis because the structures that support the teeth become too damaged to hold the teeth in place. Even though treatment can’t reverse periodontitis and advanced periodontitis, it can minimize and manage symptoms so they don’t continue to progress.
Dr. J. Alexander Withers offers aggressive but gentle laser dentistry treatments that target diseased gum tissue in a minimally invasive manner. While traditional surgical gum treatments are often associated with long and uncomfortable recovery times, laser treatments are more comfortable and cause less trauma to the gum tissue. To schedule your laser gum disease treatment, contact J. Alexander Withers Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Fairfax, VA today!