If you have noticed a change in how your teeth fit together or any small amount of swelling on the gums, you’re likely suffering from periodontal disease. It’s scary to consider what life would be like without your teeth. Would you still eat the foods you love? Speak with a certain level of confidence? Be able to smile and laugh freely?
Now that you’ve stopped daydreaming, it’s time to make sure you protect your precious pearly whites from periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects millions and impacts your appearance and your everyday life. Schedule an appointment with Medical Arts Dentistry to ensure that you receive regular cleanings regularly and do everything possible to protect your smile and dental health.
What Is Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft and hard tissues that support your teeth. The condition causes inflammation and can lead to tooth loss. If you have periodontal disease, you’re not alone. About half of all Americans between ages 30 and 49 have periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is the general name for gum disease. It’s caused when plaque builds up on your teeth and gums. As it breaks down, it can release toxins that irritate your gums and cause them to become swollen, red, and puffy. If plaque isn’t removed regularly by brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, one of the leading causes of periodontal disease.
If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and other health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Periodontal disease is a serious but manageable condition. The sooner you treat it, the better your chances of preventing further damage to your teeth and saving them from needing to be extracted.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of gum disease vary depending on how severe the infection is. Some people will have no signs or symptoms of gum disease, while others will have swollen gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, loose teeth, receding gums, bad breath, and overall oral discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, they must see their dentist right away to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Periodontal disease has many signs and symptoms that may include:
- Gum recession exposes the root surface of your tooth
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth or a change in bite
- Gum soreness, redness, or swelling
- Gum pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that are deeper than normal
- Trouble chewing or biting foods
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a progressive disease that damages the bone and supporting structures of the teeth. It leads to loss of the teeth and can cause pain and swelling of the gums. The cause of periodontal disease is bacteria that builds up on your teeth and between your teeth and gums. The bacteria irritates and inflames the gums around your teeth, making them sensitive and swollen. If you do not take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, the bacteria will continue to grow. Eventually, this can cause bone loss around your teeth leading to tooth loss or extraction.
Several factors increase your risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products
- Dry mouth caused by certain medications
- Family members have this condition
- Chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and kidney failure
- Poor oral hygiene habits like not brushing or flossing regularly
How To Prevent Periodontal Disease
It’s essential to visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and check-up. Even if you brush and floss regularly, there may be underlying problems that need to be treated by a professional such as:
- Plaque buildup on your teeth (bacteria cause plaque)
- Gum recession is caused by gum disease or tooth grinding
- Dry mouth from medications or medical conditions such as diabetes or Sjögren’s syndrome
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by regular dental visits for preventive care and professional cleanings every six months. By keeping up with your regular dental appointments, you can stop periodontitis before it starts!
When To See A Dentist
In addition to regular cleanings, if you have any of the following symptoms, see your dentist right away:
- Painful or bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Gums that are pulling away from the teeth due to no other cause (not brushing too hard)
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
Treatment for periodontal disease depends on how advanced your condition is, how much damage has been done to your gums, and what form of treatment you choose. Your dentist or periodontist will recommend the appropriate treatment for you based on a thorough assessment of your situation.
There are two primary forms of treatment for periodontal disease, surgical and non-surgical.
Non-surgical treatments include:
- Cleaning. Cleaning teeth and gums (oral hygiene) at home and in the dentist’s office.
- Fluoride. Fluoride treatments help harden tooth enamel and reduce plaque buildup on teeth.
- Oral Irrigations. Oral irrigations that use water or chemicals to clean out pockets around teeth.
Surgical treatments include:
- Scaling and root planing. A dentist scrapes away the plaque from your teeth and smooths rough spots on their roots. This helps them fit better in your mouth, reducing the pressure that can pull at the gum tissue and loosen fillings.
- Gum surgery. The dentist removes some of the gum tissue around a tooth to expose more of its root surface area so that it can be scaled more easily during future cleanings. This procedure is also known as gingivectomy or gingivoplasty (gum surgery). It may be necessary if you have gum recession or receding gums exposing too much tooth root surface area for effective scaling during cleanings. Your dentist may recommend this procedure if you have chronic bleeding.
Get Help For This Highly Preventable Disease
The most common chronic disease of the oral cavity is also one of the most preventable. It is characterized by the loss of supportive tissue in your teeth and a subsequent loosening of the teeth. It can lead to tooth loss and make you at risk for other oral diseases like oral cancer. Visit our website today for more information.