Periodontal Gum Disease Therapy for Happy, Healthy Smiles
You may think that tooth loss is just part and parcel of the aging process, but the truth is, it’s entirely possible to keep your own teeth for your entire lifetime – provided you care for them well. Avoiding periodontal disease is a major part of that endeavor. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that attack the tissue, but the signs and symptoms are not as obvious as you would think. That’s why it’s important to visit dental health professionals regularly so they can assess your teeth.
Gingivitis is a common affliction among those who don’t take care of their oral health. This is a bacterial gum infection that can quickly go from gingivitis, which is a gum inflammation, to periodontitis, which actually leads to bone loss around the teeth. When bone tissue erodes, the gum tissues detach from the teeth and create tiny pockets that welcome bacteria.
If left untreated, bone loss can occur. Periodontal disease is also genetic so you may have a double whammy going against you. Periodontal disease can lead to serious health conditions such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and preterm birth. This is because periodontal disease boosts the level of systemic inflammation, while bacteria invades the blood vessel plaques.
Periodontal Disease: What to Look For
You may not even realize you have periodontal disease, particularly if you are a smoker, because the nicotine in cigarettes cuts blood supply which prevents the gum tissues from bleeding or swelling. That said, you can pay attention to the following signs and symptoms:
- Bleeding gums: This is an obvious sign. You may think you’re just brushing your teeth too vigorously, but your gums shouldn’t bleed from this.
- Redness or swelling: If you experience inflammation of the gums, you may have early signs of periodontal disease.
- Bad breath: Because plaque gathers in the spaces between teeth, bacteria can thrive and create sulfur-containing compounds that cause halitosis (AKA bad breath)
- Receding gums: Your gum tissue may have receded farther down your tooth to expose part of your roots.
- Abscess: When bacteria get stuck in a periodontal pocket, it can fill with pus and result in pain and swelling.
- Loose teeth: In advanced stages of periodontal disease, teeth can become loose or start to shift.
- Sensitivity: The exposed roots that come with gum recession can make it uncomfortable to bite down on hard or cold foods.
What the Treatment Involves
First, you will be evaluated by your dentist, who will remove all plaque and tartar that may be on the tooth roots through a process called scaling, root planing or debridement. This is usually done through the use of hand-held instruments or ultrasonic instruments.
Your dentist may also wish to apply anti-microbial products or antibiotics to help prevent the need for periodontal surgery in the future.
You may have to undergo surgery to get rid of the pockets that have developed between the gum tissue and teeth.
The best method of prevention is to keep up with your regular daily brushing and flossing routine. Schedule regular dental checkups every six months or sooner if your dentist wants to keep an eye on your periodontal disease. Take a look at your gums on a regular basis, too, to check for signs of inflammation, bleeding or sensitivity.
By eating a balanced diet, exercising, and quitting bad habits such as smoking, you can do your part to prevent the onset of periodontal disease. We can assess you for periodontal disease here at Redwood Dental. Give us a call at (800) 462-2222.