The concept of periodontal disease is very critical as it affects one’s health both orally and systemically. Periodontal disease is a common, but severe condition that attacks the bone and soft tissues surrounding one’s teeth. The disease can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health issues if left untreated, and often begins as a result of poor dental hygiene.
Periodontal disease is relatively easy to prevent, with the main culprit being plaque; a sticky layer made of saliva, food, and bacteria. Untreated plaque turns to tartar, which leads to inflammation and further complications.
Periodontal disease is most often considered to be a silent disease. As the initial stages are often painless, 80 percent of those possessing the condition is entirely unaware that it exists. The more obvious early signs can be red-colored gums, bad breath, and/or increased tooth sensitivity. Regular tooth brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings will help keep plaque from forming on your teeth and reduce the risk of the disease.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The formation of plaque on your teeth is a normal occurrence. Therefore, brushing and flossing your teeth assists in short-term plaque removal. If the plaque is not removed correctly, it can build into calculus, or tartar, which requires professional removal by a dentist.
Before tartar is formed, plaque begins to damage the soft tissue around the teeth on its own; resulting in gingivitis — the beginning stage of periodontal disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can begin to form a space, or pocket, between the gum and teeth — this is called periodontitis. The pocket then begins to collect bacteria, and as your body starts to fight the infection, the bacteria can erode the connective tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place, causing your teeth to become loose or eventually fall out.
What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
The symptoms of periodontal disease are directly related to the stage of the disease, but can include the following:
- Swollen or painful gums
- Bright red gums
- Receding gum line
- Bleeding gums when flossing or brushing
- Pus-forming between teeth and gums
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Bad breath or metallic taste in the mouth
- Loosening of teeth
It has been determined that other health complications can arise from periodontal disease; risk of diabetes, heart disease, low birth weight babies, and respiratory disease. Many scientific studies support the correlation between these conditions and the presence of periodontal disease.
How to Treat Periodontal Disease?
A skilled dentist can diagnose periodontal disease and determine a treatment plan. To identify which is most suitable, your dentist will measure the pocket size that exists in the area between your teeth and gum line. Depending on the individual case, a treatment plan could involve nonsurgical or surgical procedures, both of which may or may not require antibiotics and other medication.
- Nonsurgical Treatments: The goal with these plans is to clean out any tartar or plaque that resides between the tooth and gum so that no further damage can occur. The most common method is called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes bacteria and tartar from pockets using a physical tool, laser or ultrasonic device. Root planing is similar but goes further down towards the bone to smooth the root surface to reduce the new formation of tartar.
- Surgical Treatments: There are several surgical options available for more advanced periodontitis. Among the most common is grafting. Grafts can take place on soft tissue or bone. Soft tissue grafts involve removing healthy skin from the roof of the mouth or by use of synthetic or donor tissue and attaching it to the gums where a recession has occurred. When the bones that hold your teeth in place have eroded, bone grafts can help reinforce loose teeth. In these cases, real or synthetic bone is grafted onto existing bone to promote renewal and stability. The above procedures are part of a surgical regimen to reshape the bone and reduce the depth of the pocket to allow the patient to maintain the gums, bone, and teeth properly.
If you have symptoms of the periodontal disease or would like to receive a full examination, please contact Tempe Smile Design today. Most cases of this condition involve minor procedures and simple treatment plans, so schedule an appointment today