Is there a small amount of blood in the sink after you brush or floss your teeth?
Gingivitis, or bleeding gums, is the first stage of gum disease, a common dental concern that many patients struggle with. Gum disease occurs when there is a buildup of plaque or tartar surrounding your soft tissues. Over time, this buildup begins to irritate your gums and causes a wide range of symptoms including bleeding gums.
If you notice a small amount of blood in the sink after brushing or flossing your teeth, this is a good sign that it’s time to check in with your local Washington, DC dentist and set up your next dental appointment. We suggest patients come in once every six months for routine dental cleanings and exams. Our goal is to catch gum disease in the earliest stages so that it does not progress further and cause more issues.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is categorized into four stages. The first is gingivitis. It’s the only stage of gum disease that’s reversible. Because there are few noticeable signs and symptoms, it’s why many adults have gum disease and may not realize it. Typically, bleeding gums are the best indicator of gingivitis. Bacteria and plaque build up at the gum line and cause irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue. Brushing, flossing, and antibacterial rinses can reverse this stage of gum disease.
Next is mild periodontal disease. At this stage, gum disease is no longer reversible. It’s more aggressive and has started attacking the bone as well. Scaling and root planing help to manage gum disease at this stage. We clean out the gum pits that have formed, as they collect debris and bacteria. The tooth roots are smoothed down so that the gums can reattach to the bone.
The third stage is moderate periodontal disease. The infection progresses further. Instead of just attacking the bone, the infection spreads to the bloodstream and throughout your body. Like mild periodontal disease, scaling and root planing are used to keep this stage under control.
Last is severe periodontal disease. It’s extremely destructive and can lead to severe bone or tooth loss. Your gums are swollen, red, and ooze pus. It’s painful to chew and you have severe bad breath. At this stage, only periodontal surgery or laser gum treatment can manage the disease.
Gum Disease Treatment in Washington, DC
Gum disease occurs because many common foods and beverages that we all consume leave behind sticky residues on our dental structures. If the residues remain on your teeth for too long, they will begin to harden and become more and more difficult to remove. Our office takes your gum health very seriously.
During each routine cleaning, we will check your soft tissues for signs and symptoms of gum disease progression, including bleeding gums. If you are unsure if you are suffering from gum disease or not, the following are symptoms to be aware of:
- Bleeding, tender gums
- Increased gum sensitivity
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
If your gum disease is allowed to progress past its early stages, you may need more intensive restorative care beyond a simple dental cleaning. For our patients struggling with the later stages of gum disease, we offer periodontal treatment options that allow us to clean the deep pockets of your gums and ensure they are free from harmful bacteria.
Dr. Nishan Halim, your experienced dentist in Capitol Hill DC, is here to help you get back on track toward your best dental health. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have a dental concern, and we will ensure that you are seen promptly.