Periodontal disease is usually seen by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It can also come with bone loss, meaning your teeth start to show more and the gums are not supporting the teeth.
Below you can read about:
- Overview of Periodontal Disease
- Signs and symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Treatment for Periodontal Disease
- Maintenance for Periodontal Disease
Overview of Periodontal Disease
The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease affects the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone.
According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one out of every two American adults ages 30 and over have some level of periodontal disease. According to this report, 47.2 percent of American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontal disease called, periodontitis. This research also targets adults ages 65 and older, indicating a rate increase of 70.1 percent.
Not only is periodontal disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontitis and other systemic diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is usually painless in its earliest stages; however, if left untreated it can be problematic. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular visits to either our dental practice or at an existing general dentist’s office, can all help to reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease.
Signs and symptoms of Overview of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
- Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
- New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss
- Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth
- Pustule (discharge) around the teeth and gums – A sign that an infection present
- Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth
- Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen
- Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Each Prosthodontist in our office, along with our dental hygienists, will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings by our highly skilled and experienced dental hygienists.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, in most cases each Prosthodontist, along with our registered dental hygienists, will recommend that you see a Periodontist, a specialist of the gums and supporting bone.
Or, you may have already been referred to our office because your Periodontist already diagnosed you and you are coming to our office for the next step in treatment.
Maintenance for Periodontal Disease
It only takes twenty-four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings) will be recommended, usually four times a year. During these hygiene cleanings, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.
In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays: Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
- Examination of tooth decay: Check all tooth surfaces for decay.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed. (Electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!