Periodontal disease affects millions of people every year and can take a huge toll on your health. Periodontal disease- or gum disease- is the swelling and infection of gum tissue. In extreme cases, it can result in tooth loss. Gum disease is generally painless at first and is caused by a buildup of plaque in your mouth.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
There are many warning signs of gum disease. If your gums bleed easily, become red, swollen, or tender, and pull away from your teeth, these are usually signs of disease. Other symptoms include bad breath, loose adult teeth, and change in your bite. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your dentist and ask about the possibility of gum disease.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease can begin with poor oral hygiene habits. Chewing and/or smoking tobacco can also increase your risk. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing gum disease. Pregnancy, diabetes, and certain medications can all play a role as well.
How is gum disease treated?
Early gum disease is known as gingivitis. This is when the gums are swollen and bleed easily. This condition is reversible. To stop gingivitis, see your dentist for a professional cleaning. Implementing brushing and flossing into your daily routine is a good first step.
When gum disease advances, it is called periodontitis. This is much more serious and can lead to the loss of bone and tissue in the mouth. Because bone and tissue support your teeth and keep them in place, this can cause your permanent teeth to begin to shift, loosen, and change positions.
When periodontitis becomes aggressive, it is incredibly damaging for the mouth. It can result in the loss of bone and tissue very rapidly. No matter what stage of gum disease you believe you are in, it is important to consult a medical professional. The quicker the problem is addressed, the easier treatment will be.
What does treatment entail?
Periodontal treatment involves cleaning the pockets around your teeth to stop damage in the surrounding bone and tissue. Scaling, root planning, and antibiotics are all nonsurgical and noninvasive tactics for treating gum disease.
Scaling: Scaling involves removing tartar and bacteria from the teeth and gums. It can be done using dental instruments or a laser.
Root Planing: Root planing involves smoothing the surfaces of the roots of your teeth, which makes it harder for plaque and tartar to build up, stopping gum disease at the source.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be used to help sustain bacterial infection. These are administered in the form of a rinse or gel and target the space between your teeth as well as your gums. Additionally, oral antibiotics can be taken to help eliminate infection completely.
In extreme cases, bone grafting, soft tissue grafts, tissue regeneration, and flap surgery are all surgical options that are used for late stage periodontal disease.
Periodontitis is incredibly serious for your oral and overall health. If you believe that you are suffering from this, or just want to make sure that your gums are healthy, come see us.