Stages of Periodontal Disease

About Ginivitis and Periodontal Disease

With a healthy tooth, the root is set in jawbone with a strong ligament, which keeps the tooth attached to the bone. Gum covers the bone protecting it from bacteria that are constantly present in the mouth. The gum connects to the neck of the tooth with a band of fibres, which inserts just above the bone into the root. In a healthy situation the gum edge is higher than the fibre attachment, forming a space around the tooth called the gingival sulcus. The depth of this space ranges from 2-3 millimeters in depth. As gum diseases progresses the gum margin becomes detatched from the tooth surface and the sulcus becomes progressively deeper. This sulcus that has deepened by gum disease is called a periodontal pocket.

Gum disease also knows as gingivitis or periodontal disease, is an infection that occurs in the gums, deep tissues and bones that support your teeth. The word "periodontal" means "around the tooth". Unless the disease is treated, it can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque. Bacterial plaque is a stick, colourless film that constantly forms on teeth. If the plaque is not removed it will harden into a porous deposit called calculus or tarter. The toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque irritates the gums, destroying the supporting tissues around the teeth. The gums will recede from the gums creating pockets that then fill up with more plaque. As the gum disease progresses the pockets become deeper and the plaque moves further down the roots of the teeth damaging the supporting bone, If not treated the affected teeth become loose and eventually fall out.

What is the difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

The initial stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. This is when the plaque has not been removed from the teeth and the bacteria produce toxins which lead to infection. The signs are red swollen, inflamed, and the gums may bleed with brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is frequently painless, and as a result may people suffering from it do not seek advice of treatment. This stage is often reversible with proper brushing and flossing. However, when there is not enough brushing, the plaque builds up and infects the gums, teeth and the bone that supports them, leading to a more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis.

There are 3 stages of periodontal disease:

early, moderate, and advanced.

Early Periodontitis:

  • Inflammation progresses in to the surrounding structures of the teeth
  • There is some bone loss which results in a pocket
  • Gums continue to bleed

Moderate Periodontitis:

  • Continued inflammation and destruction of the supporting structure of the teeth
  • More noticeable bone loss and some tooth movement
  • Bone loss extends between the roots of teeth

Advanced Periodontitis:

  • Bone loss and tooth mobility increases
  • Eventual loss of one or more teeth
healthy tooth
early periodontitis
moderate periodontitis
advanced periodontitis