What is gum disease/periodontal disease?
Approximately one third of Canadians have reported to have, or have had, a moderate to a severe periodontal problem. In the broadest terms, a periodontal disease refers to bacterial growth around the tooth. “Periodontal” means “around the tooth”. In the earliest forms, the gums might swell and easily bleed, and at worst, it may cause teeth to fall out. Therefore, in order to preserve a healthy smile, the gums must be taken care of.
What causes gum disease?
Like the rest of the body, the mouth is a very busy place, home to an uncountable amount of bacteria on the go. Like all bacteria, some are completely harmless whereas others can be detrimental to the teeth and the gums. The harmful bacteria group together in a sticky film that is known as plaque, the cause behind gum diseases. If left unchecked, it destroys the bone and the connective tissue and causes the teeth to loosen, and eventually leads to teeth removal.
The Advancement of Gum Diseases
Gum diseases, such as periodontitis and gingivitis begin with an excessive accumulation of plaque, causing it to harden and become a substance called tartar, which creates irritation for the gums and results in bleeding. Tartar is extremely tightly bound to the teeth, such that it requires professional cleaning.
Gingivitis, an early stage of gum diseases, precedes periodontitis. At the early stages of gingivitis, the gums are visibly swollen and have a tendency to bleed easily while tooth brushing. Regardless of the fact that bleeding does not always indicate gingivitis, it is an indication of the fact that the gums are losing their health and need attention. At this stage, no bone or tissue damage has taken place, and the teeth are still firmly in place despite the gum irritation.
However, when gingivitis is left untreated, it advances to periodontitis. At this stage, the inner layers of the gum recede from the teeth and form pockets. The resulting small spaces become infected as a result of debris accumulation. As the immune system of the body tries and fights the bacteria, the plaque continues to spread under the gum line. The bacterial toxins and the bodily enzymes eventually start to break down the bone and the connective tissues holding the teeth in place. As the disease advances, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue as well as the bone tissue is being destroyed. At this point, since there is no anchor holding the teeth in place, they gradually loosen and eventually fall.
Periodontal Disease: prevention and treatment:
Fortunately, this can be prevented through regular trips to your Ottawa dentist, Dr. Jaleel, as symptoms such as bleeding gums, red or tender gums, persistent bad breath, receding gums can be used in order to diagnose and treat a potential worsening gum condition. During a dental exam, the gums will be checked for bleeding, swelling and firmness. Aside from the gums, the bite is also assessed and full mouth x-rays are taken.
The treatment for gum diseases may vary from improving regular day to day activities such as regular brushing to the application of a non-surgical method called scaling and root planning. Scaling scrapes and removes the plaque while root planning smoothes the rough spots on the tooth where germs once collected, allowing the gums to reconnect with the teeth. These conditions, as can be seen, are treatable and eventually curable.
Don’t procrastinate if any of these signs seem to be bothering your everyday brushing routine. Gum diseases can be detected at a very early stage and can be treated. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with Dr. Jaleel, the friendliest and most knowledgeable dentist in Ottawa! Our dental clinic is located across from the Carlingwood Shopping Centre in Ottawa, easily accessible by bus or car.