Gum disease: it’s a real burden, and no joking matter. Gum disease can be painful and can grow increasingly worse over time if not treated, leading to serious issues like tooth loss. Early intervention is the only way to stem this unfortunate fate once you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease. But the question remains: is gum disease reversible? Unfortunately, the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Gum disease occurs at different stages: if you catch and address your gum disease at its earliest stage, you can reverse the damage done. If you wait too long to diagnose your condition or to intervene, and your disease progresses to subsequent stages, then there’s no going back: the damage to your gums and teeth may be permanent and could worsen if serious changes are not made. So, when is too late really too late? How do I know when there’s no going back?
Fortunately, gum disease does have a few tell-tale signs that will help you understand if you have it so you can intervene before disease progression has begun. If your gums swell or bleed easily, are red or tender, or have pulled away from the teeth, you may be in trouble. Or, if you’ve got a persistent bad breath that you just can’t resolve, or your teeth are loosening or separating, causing a change in the way your bite feels, talk to your dentist: these are all indications that you may have gingivitis, the first stage of progressing gum disease.
Get yourself treated fast because there’s good news: gingivitis is reversible! A thorough, professional cleaning at your dentist’s office can resolve the disease entirely, so if you do have any symptoms, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. Keep up with rigorous daily brushing and flossing, and you may never have to contend with the threat of gingivitis or gum disease ever again.
If not addressed in a timely manner, however, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease. At this point, your condition is not reversible: intervention can prevent further damage to your teeth and gums, but the damage already done will likely be with you for the rest of your life. Periodontitis can cause the loss of connective tissues that keep your teeth stable in your mouth. As a result, your teeth will feel loose or start to move in your mouth; they may even fall out. It’s a serious issue and not something you want to deal with (although, believe it or not, more than 40% of adults over the age of 30 in The United States have chronic periodontitis!). The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, a very serious and painful condition. Rapid loss of tissue will likely extend to the entire mouth, and risk of tooth-loss is almost certain. With regular dental visits, it should be possible to diagnose your gum disease before it reaches this final, painful stage.
That’s why it’s so important to act now. If you’ve got any warning signs, or are unsure whether you may be at risk for gum disease, talk to your dentist immediately. Schedule regular cleanings, and always make sure that you’re brushing and flossing every day. The knowledgeable dentists at Absolute Smile are here to help you keep your gums healthy for the long-haul.