124 Alpine Cir.
Columbia, SC 29223
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Stages of Gum Disease

Your Columbia, SC Periodontal & Implant Dentist

At the office of Dr. Gregg W. McKenzie, DDS, we strive to provide the highest quality in periodontal and implant dentistry to our patients in a relaxed, easy going environment. Dr. McKenzie and our team of highly trained dental professionals have years of experience serving the areas of Columbia and Lexington, SC, and we will work with you to design a treatment plan to fit your unique needs - all on your schedule.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a dental condition affecting the gums and bone supporting the teeth - the word "periodontal" literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease usually starts when the gums become inflamed from an infection caused by the bacteria in plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film that can form over the teeth. The bacteria then seep into the gums, causing inflammation, tooth loss, and sometimes bone damage. While generally bacterial infections are the main cause of periodontal disease, there are a number of other risk factors as well. These can include:

  • Tobacco use (even smokeless)
  • High stress
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics

Periodontal disease manifests itself in a number of stages, each progressively more severe than the last. There are three stages to periodontal disease:

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. The gums can get red, swollen, and often bleed easily, but there is generally no pain or discomfort associated with gingivitis, A solid, strict, and effective oral hygiene regimen, combined with visits and cleanings with us, can usually reverse the effects of gingivitis and bring gums back to good health.

Stage 2: Periodontitis

Periodontitis, a more aggressive and sometimes chronic form of periodontal disease, can develop if gingivitis is ignored and left untreated. Aggressive periodontitis can cause rapid bone destruction, damage to the fibers that hold the teeth in place, receding gum lines, and gaps between the teeth and gums. Periodontitis should be treated immediately to avoid increasing tooth damage and save existing teeth.

Stage 3: Chronic Periodontits

One of the most common forms of periodontal disease, chronic periodontitis is most common in adults and is caused by the spread of bacteria in the mouth. Chronic periodontitis can deteriorate bone, attaching fibers, and teeth, while also loosening the tooth and impairing bite function. Extensive treatment is usually necessary to salvage the teeth.

The stages of periodontal disease progress slowly and can be recognized by inflammation, gum recession, and pocket formation. Thankfully, if caught early on, periodontal disease is treatable and manageable.

Contact Your Columbia Periodontist

If you have more questions about periodontal disease or your dental health in general, we're here to help. Feel free to visit our contact page to reach out to us or schedule an appointment at our Columbia, SC office. We can't wait to hear from you, but until then, don't forget to take care of your gums just like you take care of your teeth!