Barry H. Buchanan, DDS logo

How to Recognize the Early Signs of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease or periodontitis differs from gum disease. Unlike gum disease, periodontitis is not reversible. That’s why it’s vital to know the early signs of periodontal disease to keep it from worsening.

How are gingivitis and periodontal disease different?

Gingivitis and periodontal disease represent two ends of a spectrum. Periodontal disease happens when gingivitis goes untreated. The best treatment for gingivitis is to see your dentist so you can take the necessary steps to reverse it. If it has progressed to periodontal disease, it’s vital that you see your dentist and practice good oral hygiene to avoid tooth and bone loss.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the word that describes inflamed gums. It’s the beginning stage of periodontitis. When plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth, your gums react by becoming inflamed. Certain medications or malnutrition can cause gingivitis, but the most common cause is poor oral hygiene.

You might notice your gums are tender to the touch, and they might bleed when you brush or floss. You might also have bad breath. What is not present with gingivitis, however, is any gum recession or bone loss. Gingivitis can be so subtle that you don’t even know you have it. That’s why regular checkups are a good idea because your dentist can spot it.

What is periodontal disease?

If you ignore gingivitis, the bacteria in your mouth begin to thrive on the plaque and tartar that have built up on your teeth. Their population grows exponentially, and the result is periodontitis.

At this stage, the disease starts to destroy your gums and teeth. Your gums will begin to recede or pull away from your teeth. They could recede so much that your teeth may fall out because there is insufficient gum tissue to hold them in place.

You’ll know you have periodontal disease when your gums are swollen, red, and tender. They will also bleed very quickly, you’ll have bad breath all the time, and you may even see pus coming out of your gums. You might also experience pain when chewing and eventually notice your teeth becoming loose.

What are the different types of periodontitis?

There are three types of periodontitis: chronic, aggressive, and necrotizing. Most people have the chronic type, which cannot be reversed but can be managed.

The aggressive type is rare, but it progresses very rapidly. If you don’t get it treated immediately, you might lose your teeth and bone from your jaw.

The third type, necrotizing periodontal disease, occurs when you develop an active infection in your mouth and your gum tissue dies. Usually, it is people with compromised immune systems who get this version.

Call Us Today!

We can help you manage the problem if you have gingivitis or periodontitis. Give Dr Barry Buchanan’s office a call today for an appointment.