Periodontal Disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. It is an infection of the gums, ligaments and jawbone. The disease is almost completely painless and difficult to detect in its early stages. Some early warning signs are: swollen and tender gums, bad breath, and gums that bleed when you floss and brush. Periodontal Disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque. It can be treated, so see us today if you have detected any of these warning signs!
If you have been informed by your dentist that you have periodontal disease, you are not alone. It is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults and many adults currently have some form of the disease. It is an infection of the gums, ligaments and jawbone. Periodontal disease may range from simple gum inflammation to serious damages to the soft tissue and bone that surround the teeth. In the worst stage there is tooth loss. The disease is almost completely painless and difficult to detect in its early stages. Whether you’re at risk of getting periodontal disease, or it has stopped, slowed or worsened depends greatly on how well you care for your gums and teeth daily from this point onward.
Periodontal Disease is most commonly caused by plaque that builds up along and under the gum line. Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria constantly form a sticky “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of it. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist can remove tartar.
The longer plaque and tartar build up on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria can lead to inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” At this phase, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease (no loss of bone or tissue that secure teeth) that can be treated with routine brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleaning.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (inflammation around the tooth). This is when gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces called “pockets” that get infected. The body tries to fight the bacteria as the plaque spreads below the gum line. Bacterial toxins start to break down the bone and soft tissue that secure teeth. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are damaged. This results in tooth loss.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Some early stage warning signs are:
Some advanced stage, severe signs are:
Periodontal disease can be treated, so see us today if you have detected any of these warning signs!
If you want to prevent getting gum disease here are some things to avoid: smoking, chewing tobacco, clenching or grinding your teeth, and eating unwholesome foods high in sugars or starch. Some medications or medical conditions can also increase your vulnerability to periodontal disease so ask us at your next appointment.
Keep your gums healthy by brushing your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss regularly to remove plaque from between your teeth and get all the food out of those hard to reach places. You can also use a device such as a special brush or wooden or plastic pick recommended by a dental professional. Visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The frequency and type of treatment will depend on the severity of the case, however, all treatment types will require patients to keep up a good daily care routine at home. The dentist may also suggest changing certain behaviours, such as quitting smoking, as a way to prevent further damage to teeth and gums.
The dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root (in pockets) where the bacteria gather, and helps remove the bacteria that cause the disease. In certain cases a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. This method can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to the traditional deep-cleaning method.