CDC analysis says that Periodontitis is the most prevailing type of oral disease affecting 64.7 Million people in the United States.
All our childhood, we have been told to take care of our teeth. But it’s surprising to see how we neglect oral hygiene the most growing up. And one of the major threats to our health is Periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a gum disease that initially affects the gums and extends to the jawbone as it progresses. It typically comes about due to improper oral hygiene. The gum disease progresses in different stages, and you will likely experience one after turning 65.
This guide will give you a deep understanding of Gingivitis (early Periodontitis), and its advanced stages. Additionally, it will figure out how long does Gingivitis take to turn into periodontitis.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease Explained
Periodontal disease is an infection of gum tissues that hold the teeth together in place. When bacteria in our mouth form a plaque (a layer of sticky substance from leftover food) due to improper oral care, it turns into a harder layer called tartar which only professionals can clean.
If not removed on time, tartar facilitates bacterial growth that produces acids and breaks down enamel, causing inflammation of the gums and eventually Periodontal disease.
How Long Does Gingivitis take to turn into Periodontitis?
Gingivitis progressing into the periodontal disease is not an overnight process. In fact, it is a rather slow process and can differ from person to person. For instance, ideally, it takes four to five days for plaque to hit its maximum extent and show signs of Gingivitis from day 5 to 6.
In as little as a few weeks, you will be able to notice the advanced stages of Gingivitis (now Periodontitis) if you fail to take measures to treat the disease in its early stages.
Different Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease can be broken down into two categories:
- Gingivitis (early stage)
- Periodontitis (Advanced Stage)
Gingivitis is a mild form of Periodontitis and can be reversed by taking proper care. When Gingivitis is left untreated, it changes into a more destructive and untreatable form, Periodontitis. The following are the four stages of Periodontitis.
- Initial Stage
- Moderate Stage
- Sever stage with high chances of tooth loss
- Last stage, with the potential loss of all the teeth
Let’s learn each stage in detail and see how Gingivitis turns into Periodontitis.
As said earlier, Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease where symptoms are mild as plaque formation is in the process. Since it’s a painless process, this stage is often overlooked.
Following are some other symptoms that you may experience at this stage:
- Bad breath
- Swelling of gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
If you experience any such symptoms, it is imperative to take extra care of your oral hygiene to reverse the disease.
Stage 1 - Early Periodontitis
When Gingivitis is left unchecked, it progresses to stage 1 Periodontitis. At this stage, the inflammation of the gums becomes extreme, weakening the fibers that connect teeth roots to the socket. Once these fibers, called the periodontal ligament, get damaged, they cannot be restored to their original state.
Symptoms of early Periodontitis are similar to those of Gingivitis except for the following:
- Receding gum line
- Change in the bite
- Tooth Sensitivity
From this stage, Periodontitis becomes irreversible. The treatment options begin with coaching and Debridement.
Stage 2 - Moderate Periodontitis
Again, without treatment, the initial stage of Periodontitis progresses to stage 2. The main difference between the first and second stages of Periodontitis is the amount of damage to the periodontal ligaments and the joints between the tooth socket and the root.
The damage in the second stage is more detectable and permanent than in the early stage and can easily be spotted by your dental team. Here are some new symptoms you will experience at this stage:
- 6 to 7 mm gum pockets
- Wiggly teeth
- Tooth decay
Stage 3 - Severe Periodontitis with high chances of tooth loss
Now we enter the second last stage of Periodontitis, where you have a higher chance of tooth loss.
The pain becomes more severe at this stage, including the following other symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Teeth looking longer due to receded gums
- Teeth becoming loose
- Sore biting
- Change in the way your teeth fit together
- Localized swelling
- Abscessed with puss
While you may have several treatment options at this stage, some teeth are unsavable and must be replaced by implants or dentures. An experienced periodontist can provide a suitable treatment to give you the best chance of saving your teeth.
Stage 4 - Severe Periodontist with the potential loss of all the teeth
By the time you reach stage 4, you have already lost most of your teeth, and the remaining ones are often loose because the teeth lack sufficient support due to the loss of gum bone.
You may also notice significant splaying and drifting of the anterior teeth, with gaps forming between them. It is crucial at this stage to get proper treatment as this could lead to diabetes and even heart stroke.
Common symptoms at this stage include:
- Swollen gums oozing puss
- Extreme bad breath
- Loosening of the remaining teeth
- Painful bite
- Bone loss
While the damage at this stage cannot be reversed, it can be managed to a great extent. With the help of a periodontist, it is still possible to stabilize the condition at this stage. For instance, most people go for full-mouth dental implants.
Note: Dental implants with gum disease are not just complicated to place but extremely expensive. Don’t forget to ask your dentist for suitable alternatives that also fit your budget.
How Fast does Gingivitis progress?
Periodontitis is categorized into three different rates of progression:
- Grade A - Slow Progression
- Grade B - Moderate Progression
- Grade C - Rapid Progression
Depending on the type of progression rate, a Periodontist prescribes you a suitable treatment option to manage the disease. If you are diagnosed with rapid progression Periodontitis, it is crucial to seek immediate care.
Does Gingivitis always progress to Periodontitis?
Unfortunately, yes. Periodontitis always progresses into Gingivitis. That said, in some cases, Gingivitis remains stuck for years and doesn’t progress to stage 1 Periodontitis.
How long does it take for gingivitis to turn into periodontitis?
Gingivitis turning into Periodontitis mainly depends on its progression rate. The faster the rate, the more quickly it will turn into Periodontitis. Similarly, if you have mild Gingivitis, it can take a few weeks, months, or even years to turn into Periodontist.
If a good oral care routine is adopted in the initial stages, Gingivitis will be less likely to turn into Periodontitis.
Will I lose my teeth if I have periodontitis?
Periodontist is a serious gum disease. It begins with gum tissue damage and eventually destroys the bone supporting your teeth. In the final stages of Periodontist, the patient is likely to lose all or more than half of their teeth.
Can periodontitis happen suddenly?
Periodontists do not happen overnight, as we said previously. You will first notice the signs of Gingivitis and then stage 1 symptoms of Periodontitis if not treated.
Do gums go back to normal after Gingivitis?
Damages due to gum diseases are typically irreversible, especially in Periodontitis. The condition causes the gums to pull away from the teeth making gum pockets. Once the gum pockets are formed, they can never return to their original state.
Does Periodontitis stay forever?
In most cases, Periodontitis doesn’t go away. The patient has to live with it. However, periodontal therapies can help control the disease and keep your mouth healthy. Periodontitis patients must be more diligent about their oral care. Therefore, it is advisable to approach the dentist for hygiene instructions.
Do periodontal pockets heal?
Fortunately, periodontal pockets can heal and get better, but not as it was before the disease. Dentists usually recommend deep cleaning and root planning to remove bacteria in the pockets. They help shrink the pockets and make them healthier.
Do periodontal pockets smell?
One of the common symptoms of Periodontitis is bad breath. The persistent bacterial infection in the mouth can cause smell over time. What’s worse is nothing can be done to manage the smell. You must receive proper treatment for Periodontitis to get rid of it.
What is the smell of Gingivitis?
Gingivitis infection causes your breath to smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. The reason is that the bacteria in your mouth release chemicals that smell such things.
Will antibiotics cure Gingivitis?
Antibiotics can surely help manage the symptoms, but they should not be taken as a sole treatment for Gingivitis. Common antibiotics for gum infections include amoxicillin, tetracyclines (like minocycline or doxycycline), metronidazole, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and clindamycin.
What's the best toothpaste for Gingivitis?
Crest Gum Detoxify and Pro-Health Advanced are usually considered good for gum diseases. That said, you must consult your dentist before using any.
Gingivitis is a mild gum disease that leads to a more severe form, Periodontitis if left unchecked. Once you reach Periodontitis stage 1, there is no going back. Then only you can take medications and treatments to manage it and stop it from further destruction.
If you are diagnosed with periodontitis, get professional treatment to stop its progression. Lastly, it is recommended to visit your dentist every six months to keep your oral health in check.