Let’s be honest: how often do you actually floss? We know that when you come to the dentist office this question is often the most annoying one that you hear. That’s because after it is asked, it is followed by your dentist or dental hygienist probing your gum line which is often painful and comes with a bit of advice that you likely do not want to hear. Believe us, your dentist is only poking at your gums because he cares about you. Unfortunately, caring about you in this capacity can often lead to you finding out that you in fact have gum disease. When this occurs there are several stages that you will likely go through. Below you can find the seven stages of gum disease.

Stage 1: You’re in Shock

At first, you’re likely going to experience a bit of shock. After all, you brush your teeth every single day, twice a day and you floss will you remember to. How in the world can you have gum disease? The good thing to know is that gum disease can be located in one specific area. Alternatively, it can also affect the whole mouth. We know you may have expected to hear that you had a cavity or two but gum disease, really?

Stage 2: You’re in Denial

The next stage you’re going to go through is obviously denial. Clearly someone has done something wrong. Your tests aren’t correct or your dentist is looking at someone else’s file. Unfortunately, this simply is not the case. Gum disease is diagnosed through dental X-rays, visual exams, and measuring the pocket depth in your gums. It may seem crazy that you can have gum disease when you were never diagnosed with the more mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis. Unfortunately, it is important to listen to your dentist at this time as this is likely not a mistake.

Stage 3: You’re Anger

It is fairly common that people will get angry at this point once they realize that their diagnosis is actually real. This anger also stems from misunderstanding much of the time as gum disease can be caused by or made worse by conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy hormones, prescription drugs and many other things. Unfortunately, gum disease can also be a genetic condition that you did not contribute to at all. Therefore, anger is an acceptable emotion.

On the other hand, gum disease is most often caused by not flossing enough, not flossing properly, or not at all. This anger is likely heightened if your dentist has been telling you for a while that you need to improve your flossing habits. All your anger is completely acceptable. But you should not give up. You still have options.

Stage 4: You Begin Bargaining

Many people want to just skip this diagnosis and get on with her dental visit. For the most part, we get a lot of questions about whether or not you can simply get your cleaning and go home. Unfortunately, the short answer is no. If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease it should not be ignored. While this is frustrating it is going to lead you having a healthier smile if you choose to have the recommended treatment. Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep dental cleaning, is not an upsell of any sort. It is an important dental procedure that will help your gums repair some of the damage that has already been done to them by this disease.

Stage 5: You Experience Helplessness

You may want to give up at this point. After all, why should you bother if the damage is already done?  On the other hand, it is very important to note that gum disease is both treatable and curable. Not to mention, many dental insurance companies absolutely cover gum disease treatment. With the help of your dentist and a better flossing regimen you may find that your gum disease disappears with time or at least improves.

Stage 6: You Take Action

Now that you know there is a plan you can take to improve your condition, it’s time to take action. This is likely going to be done over multiple visits where you will have scaling and root planing completed. After gum disease treatment you will likely have a follow up a week or two after to confirm that you are healing alright. You may need to come in for maintenance every two to three months to ensure that the gum disease has not returned and that it is truly gone.

Stage 7: Maintenance and Victory

This is the fun part. You’ve reached a point where your gums and your teeth are back on track. Your dentist is likely far happier with the state of your current oral health and so are you.

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