Over half the population of the United States has gum disease and yet, most people probably could not name three of its symptoms. Why do we know so little about such a common infection? It is hard to say. It could be that many of us mistakenly believe that bleeding gums or gum irritation is normal or that we do not realize that periodontal infection has far-reaching consequences. In fact, the latest research links it to heart disease, stroke, and dementia. In honor of Gum Disease Awareness Month, make your smile (and our periodontist) happy by learning to recognize the stages of gum disease.

The Stages of Gum Disease

Stage 1: Gingivitis
Marked by swollen, red, or bleeding gums, the first stage of gum disease is caused by an infection of the gum tissue by the bacteria in your mouth. When caught early, there is no permanent damage.

Stage 1: Treatment
Our periodontist may recommend antibiotic therapy or even a deep cleaning to ensure the health of your gums. Removing the bacteria daily, with a proper brushing and flossing routine, is ultimately the best course of action for gingivitis.

Stage 2: Periodontitis
If the infection is not treated, it progresses to Periodontitis. The bacteria begin to destroy the periodontal and connective tissues that support your teeth. It also attacks the bone. Periodontal pockets widen, gum tissue recedes, and teeth may become sensitive to heat and cold. Bad breath may also occur.

Stage 2: Treatment
At this point, our periodontist may suggest scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapy, or laser gum surgery. Laser gum surgery, or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®), can be a convenient treatment for gum disease affecting a single tooth to a full arch.

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
In the final stage of gum disease, the bacteria have infiltrated your gums, connective tissue, and bone. Signs of advanced Periodontitis include all previous symptoms, and possibly loosening of the teeth, bone loss, and tooth loss.

Stage 3: Treatment
Gum surgery is the only option. Dr. Leigh Kent offers laser gum surgery for this stage of gum disease in Birmingham, AL. LANAP is the minimally invasive alternative to traditional osseous surgery. With LANAP, our periodontist eliminates the need for scalpels, incisions, and sutures, providing you with a highly comfortable experience and a faster recovery.

If you believe that you have periodontal disease, do not hesitate. Call our office to schedule your consultation with Dr. Leigh Kent. Let us help you recover the health of your smile, with more comfortable, convenient treatment for gum disease in Birmingham, AL