Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease or gingival disease, is an inflammation of the gingival tissue around the gum line that can worsen to affect the gum tissue and jawbone and subsequently cause the teeth to fall out or be removed by a dentist.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial disease and it occurs when the teeth are not properly cleaned to get rid of food junks and plaques. The food junks and plaques subsequently attract the disease-causing bacteria.
Luckily, this disease is preventable by observing good and proper oral hygiene practices, such as daily brushing and flossing, and by seeking periodontal disease treatment as soon as symptoms of periodontal disease are noticed before the disease becomes more severe. Although periodontal disease is highly preventable in most cases, it remains one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults.
Ways to Prevent Periodontal Disease:
- Brushing and flossing at least 2 times daily.
- Using antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste to kill the disease-causing bacteria
- Scheduling a biannual visit to your dentist for dental cleanings and check-ups.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
Periodontal disease can affect patients at any age, but it commonly affects adults. More so, periodontal disease can be painless. It is, therefore, important for everyone to be wary of any of the following signs and symptoms: (Periodontal disease detected in its early stage can be easily reversed.)
- Puffy or swollen, tender, or red gums
- Bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing.
- Visible pus around the gums and teeth
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad taste or bad breath.
- Receding gums (teeth looks longer)
- Gums that have pulled away or separated from the teeth to create a pocket
- Noticeable changes in the way your teeth clamp together when you bite
Periodontal Disease Stages
There are basically three periodontal disease stages, which are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. However, some dental practitioners claim that there are four periodontal disease stages but often merge stage 2 and 3 together. These periodontal disease stages increase from the least to the most severe.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
This is the mild and earliest stage of periodontal disease. This stage is usually characterized by puffy or swollen gums, red gums, bleeding gums during brushing and flossing, and sometimes bad breath. Gingivitis is typically the inflammation of the gingiva as a result of plaque build-up at the gum-line. If this plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gingival tissues, causing gingivitis.
Gingivitis can be treated as the loss of jawbone and connective tissues that hold the teeth in place has not yet begun. Any dental damage done during this periodontal disease stage is usually reversible with immediate treatment.
Periodontal Disease Treatment for Gingivitis: Observing a good and proper oral hygiene practice is sometimes all that is required to treat gingivitis and to restore your teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing are very important to remove food debris, chunks, and bacteria from between teeth to prevent the bacterial infection from escalating into the later stages. Once you noticed the signs and symptoms of gingivitis, it is always a good idea to visit your dentist for deeper dental cleaning and examination.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
This stage marks the transition from slight to moderate periodontal disease – periodontitis. Signs and symptoms of periodontitis include an increased swelling and redness the gums, gums may begin to bleed at a slight hit or when brushing or flossing, pocket below the gum line, which traps more food chunks and plaque. Periodontitis may be accompanied by pain or not even though the gum tissues and the supporting jawbones and fibres are being irreversibly damaged.
Periodontal Disease Treatment for Periodontitis: During this stage, the gingival tissue and jawbones are already affected and the infection is spreading deeper. Therefore, professional dental care is necessary. Periodontal disease treatment for periodontitis involves “scaling” and “root planing,” which involves a very deep cleaning of the affected tooth to remove the built-up plaque causing the infection.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
This is the final stage of periodontal disease. The disease-causing bacteria have gone deeper into the teeth reaching far into the gums and have caused a complete loss of jawbone, connective tissues, and gingival tissue. At this stage, there is an increased chance of tooth loss, tooth shift, and other dental complications. The teeth become loose and highly sensitive, and patients will experience serious pain when chewing food. Advanced periodontitis can result in bone loss, tooth loss, loose teeth, severe toothaches, persistent bad breath, etc.
Periodontal Disease Treatment for Advanced Periodontitis: It is highly advisable to seek dental treatment early right before the periodontal disease gets to this stage. Once the periodontal disease has gotten to this stage, only surgical procedures or laser therapy is required to treat this deep infection. And if any of this treatment doesn’t save the teeth, such teeth may need to be removed.
It is recommended that you schedule regular dental check-ups and cleaning with your dentist. With early detection, periodontal disease can be treated at an early stage right before it worsens into a more serious dental condition. Nevertheless, if your dental condition is already worsening into an advanced stage, dental treatment by a well-trained and experienced dentist will be required.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease treatment can be categorized into two – Nonsurgical and surgical treatments. If the periodontal disease is still in the mild stage, the required treatments are often less invasive. However, advanced periodontal disease may require dental surgery.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
Scaling – removing of tartar and bacteria from the tooth surfaces and beneath the gums. This is normally carried out using special dental tools including a laser and ultrasonic device.
Root planning – smoothens the tooth root surfaces and discourages further build-up of bacteria and tartar. It also eliminates bacterial by-products that aid inflammation and delay the tooth healing processes.
Antibiotics – Both oral and topical antibiotics can be taken to control bacterial infection.
Surgical treatments include:
Flap surgery – this is also known as pocket reduction surgery. It involves making tiny incisions in the gum to lift back a section of the gum tissue for a more effective scaling and paning.
Soft tissue grafting – this has to do with reinforcing the receded gingival tissues i.e. replacing the damaged soft tissue with tissues from the upper palate or from a donor.
Bone grafting – this involves replacing the damaged jawbone around the affected tooth root.
Guided tissue regeneration – is the re-growing of the bone tissues destroyed by bacteria.
Tissue-stimulating proteins – this is the application of a special protein-containing gel to the diseases tooth root to stimulate the growth of the healthy gum tissues and bone.
Are you experiencing the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease? Or you haven’t gone for your biannual professional dental cleaning and check-up yet, contact us today so that we can schedule a dental appointment with you at a time that would be convenient for you.