Periodontal disease has become a worldwide concern, affecting millions of individuals. Recent research suggests that it’s a leading cause of tooth and bone loss. In its initial stage, gum disease is called gingivitis. Good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings effectively treat gingivitis at the early stages. When left untreated, gingivitis worsens to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the gum tissues and, if left untreated, can damage the jawbone, leading to loose tooth or tooth loss.
Commonly, gum disease results from poor dental hygiene, which is largely preventable. Poor dental hygiene leads to plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, eventually leading to cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. Good at-home dental hygiene and habits, along with regular dental exams and cleanings, can reduce your risk of developing gum disease significantly.
Common warning signs of gum disease to watch out for include:
Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild and first stage of gum disease. It’s characterized by gum irritation, redness, and inflammation of the gum tissue, especially around the base of the teeth. You don’t have to worry much if you have gingivitis as the condition is easily treatable. If left untreated, you risk getting periodontitis.
Bleeding gums. If you notice bleeding gums when eating or brushing, you might have gum disease. Plaque and bacteria buildup around the gum line cause your gums to become tender, swollen, and easily bleed. If your gums bleed when brushing and sometimes eating, contact a dentist near you for an assessment.
Bad breath. When plaque and tartar build up at the gum line and on the teeth, it leads to an overgrowth of the harmful bacteria and bad breathe. These oral bacteria produce a bad odor in your breath.
Gum recession. If you have gum recession, chances are you have a progressed form of gum disease, and you should seek professional help immediately. Gum recession happens when gum tissues pull back from the teeth, exposing more teeth and their roots. If not addressed on time, it causes deeper gum pockets, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss.
Gum pockets. With time, gum disease causes the gap between your teeth and gum tissue to widen, causing spaces or “pockets.” Over time, these pockets deepen, harboring more plaque and bacteria.
Bone loss. Bone loss can result from numerous factors, including lack of stimulation from missing teeth. It can also result from periodontal disease. As bacteria and plaque build up in the gum pockets, toxins infect and expose the underlying bone tissue. Bone loss leads to bone craters, tooth loss, and severe bone deterioration if not addressed.
Abscess. An abscess is a painful pus-filled pimple. It results from severe pulp infection and infection of the gum tissue surrounding a tooth. If not addressed, the abscess can spread to cause facial infections.
Loose teeth or pain when eating. Advanced gum disease leads to loose teeth, causing difficulties and pain when eating or brushing. If not treated, tooth loss is inevitable.
If you have periodontal disease, your periodontist will create a treatment plan based on the stage of the condition and the severity of the symptoms. Common treatments for periodontal disease include:
Professional Deep cleaning. You can treat the early stages of gum disease with good at-home dental hygiene and professional teeth cleanings. Your dentist will schedule frequent dental cleanings to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria on teeth above and below the gum line.
Scaling and Root Planing. The procedure involves scraping away tartar and plaque above and underneath the gums and tooth roots. Getting rid of the plaque, tartar, and bacteria reduces gum irritation and allows the gums to reattach to the teeth.
Flap Surgery. If your condition has progressed to advanced stages, more invasive treatments such as flap surgery are required. This surgery entails lifting the gum tissues to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. The gums place back, holding on to teeth tightly.
Grafts surgery. In severe cases of gum disease with damaged gum tissues or bone loss, you will need grafts. The dentist uses tissues from other parts of your mouth or body to repair the gum tissue and bone that has been affected by periodontal disease.
For more information on periodontal treatment in San Jose, CA, contact Neeshat S Khan DDS.