Is Periodontal Disease Painful?

Although the eventual outcome of untreated periodontal disease is the loss of affected teeth, it's a long journey before anyone gets to that stage. Because it's a disease, you might think of periodontal disease as being comparable to other illnesses and afflictions in that you can measure the seriousness of the condition by how much it hurts. But does periodontal disease actually cause pain?

Early Stages

Periodontal disease can be sneaky, as it can be easy to overlook the symptoms. Gingivitis (a bacterial-induced infection of your gums) tends to graduate to periodontal disease, and its symptoms can be minor. Your gums may not even appear to be visibly inflamed at this stage, and they won't hurt—although increased sensitivity is common. This sensitivity is demonstrated by how easy your gums bleed, and even the lightest touch from a toothbrush or a thread of dental floss seems to draw a small amount of blood.

Middle Stages

As your untreated gingivitis progresses, your infection becomes more serious. Periodontal pockets begin to develop in your mouth, causing your gums to pull away from your teeth. In fact, probing these pockets to measure their depth is a standard way of assessing the severity of a patient's periodontal issues. Again, this stage of the disease won't necessarily cause any pain, although your sensitivity may increase. However, without prompt treatment, it's practically certain that your periodontal disease will become more acute. This means that pain will ultimately become inevitable without dental treatment.

Late Stages

Acute periodontal disease can result in severe inflammation of the gingival tissues, which can make chewing more and more uncomfortable. You may soon arrive at the stage where your immune response is unable to repress the effects of the condition. A periodontal abscess can develop on your gum tissues, which is a localized accumulation of pus that can be extremely unpleasant. Although an individual's experience may vary, it's generally only these later stages of periodontal disease that cause pain. However, any pain will be progressive, and won't start overnight.

Treatment Options

It could be said that periodontal disease is easier to prevent than treat. Gingivitis can be largely avoided by taking care of your teeth and by visiting your dentist regularly to have plaque and tartar (which are bacterial in nature) removed, preventing them from gaining a foothold on your teeth and inflaming your gums. This debridement (manual removal of bacterial contaminants) can be effective in more advanced forms of periodontal disease, too. Antibiotics may be prescribed, but their benefits are limited and are generally only reserved for serious cases, such as when an infection from a periodontal abscess spreads to surrounding tissues and causes swelling.

Periodontal disease is relatively simple to prevent and is highly treatable in its early stages. Of course, this treatment becomes more complex the longer the disease is allowed to develop. Please ensure that you regularly attend your dental checkups so that any budding periodontal problems can be caught as early as possible.

For more information, contact a local company, like Comprehensive Dental Care.