What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is an advanced gum disease that poses a threat to a patient’s overall dental and oral health. The gums are compromised by bacteria that infects the patient’s bone tissue and eventually separates the gums from the teeth. If this process isn’t caught and treated in its early stages, there may be a risk of tooth loss and infections that could affect the patient’s overall health. Many adults in the US currently have some form of gum disease. Minor cases of gum disease may only cause inflammation, while more severe cases cause damage to the tissue and bones, resulting in tooth loss.
What Causes Periodontal Gum Disease?
Medical researchers have isolated the bacteria that commonly causes periodontitis to progress—it is called NI1060 and it is particularly damaging to bone tissue in the mouth. There are several risk factors for gum disease including smoking, diabetes, certain medications and genetics. Though some experts believe that it is a condition that runs in families, the main cause of gum disease is poor dental care over an extended period of time. You can brush your teeth often and still get periodontitis if you don’t floss and remove plaque from around the gumline.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The symptoms of periodontal disease become almost impossible to ignore over time. However, gum disease can be treated with a variety of different methods.
Here are a few things to look out for:
- Red, swollen and bleeding gums
- Deep pockets forming between the teeth and gums
- Odorous breath that persists even after brushing
- Loosening teeth
Our mouths contain a lot of bacteria. Bacteria, mucus and other particles cause sticky plaque to form on our teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed with proper brushing and flossing, it can harden to form tartar. Once plaque turns to tartar, the only way to remove it is with a professional dental cleaning. Regular brushing will not be enough. Plaque and tartar that remain on teeth are harmful. Over time the gums will become inflamed and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis—a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis can be reversed by brushing and flossing daily, and with regular dental cleaning. If gingivitis is not treated, it can become periodontitis.
How We Treat Gum Disease
- Scaling and rooting planing: This is one of the most effective and common ways to treat gum disease. Scaling removes any dental tartar from your teeth, while root planing treats the infected pockets.
- Antibiotics: Oral or topical antibiotics may be used to treat periodontal infections or to control the bacteria.
- Periodontal Laser Treatment: This treatment removes inflamed pockets and decreases bacterial growth. Laser therapy in conjunction with scaling and root planing can be an effective gum disease treatment.
- Dental Implants: This long-term solution for replacing missing teeth has become one of the preferred methods for tooth loss treatment. A small titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone and is given time to allow the surrounding bone and tissue to fuse with it. Finally, an artificial tooth is placed over the screw to complete your smile.
Gum disease prognosis depends significantly on how well you care for your teeth and gums. Visiting our office for regular checkups and cleaning, as well as maintaining good oral health, will guarantee that your teeth and gums remain healthy.