Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease, better known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not even know that you have it. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a bacterium that is constantly forming on our teeth.
Top 5 Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gum disease is the term used for two types of gum infection, gingivitis and periodontitis. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the milder form of gum disease that results in inflammation and bleeding of the gums, and is preventable and reversible. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional dental cleaning at your dental office, followed by regular daily brushing and flossing.
If gingivitis is not stopped, however, it will escalate into periodontitis, which is considered advanced gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious infection that can lead to tooth loss, gum recession, and loss of the bone that supports the teeth. If gum disease does progress to this level, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. Periodontitis usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression. Periodontitis is non-curable and is important to catch in the early stages. Otherwise you will begin to experience other dental problems, including unwanted tooth extractions due to the gums weakening.
Anyone Can Have Periodontitis
Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.
Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. Some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions including diabetes and stroke.
Our dentists at Thurston Oaks Dental take gum disease very seriously and can you help prevent gum disease.
The symptoms of gum disease vary depending on how serious the infection is. Patients with gingivitis will experience only swollen gums that are sensitive and bleed when brushing. Patients with periodontitis can have loose teeth, receding gums, constant bad breath, and deep pockets between the gums and teeth.
Deep pockets between the teeth and gums are an indication of gum disease worsening. If plaque is not properly cleaned off, the bacteria collect in the space between the gum line and the teeth and form pockets. These pockets deepen as the infection becomes more severe and can indicate how bad the gum disease is.
There are many different indications of gum disease and it is best to book an appointment with one of our dentists to examine your mouth properly to find out exactly what is going on.
Some warning signs of gum disease include:
|| Red, swollen, tender gums
||Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
||Gums that bleed easily
||Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
||Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
||Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
||Any change in the fit of partial dentures
There are also many factors that increase the risk of gum disease including smoking, pregnancy, and diabetes. It is important to visit Thurston Oaks Dental if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better.
The leading cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing frequently enough, or not doing it properly, leads to the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. It is important to brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once daily in order to keep your teeth clean.
Lifestyle choices and medication can also have an effect on gum disease. Smoking can weaken the hard tissue of the mouth, while some medications have side-effects that can inhibit oral processes.
Family history and illnesses also factor in as possible causes. HIV/AIDS and diabetes have an effect on the gums as it makes a patient more susceptible to developing infections.
An assessment will need to be performed in order to determine how far the periodontal disease has advanced. We begin by examining the patient’s health history to determine if they are a smoker or tobacco user or if they have been prescribed any medication which may be a contributing factor to gum disease. A visual inspection will be performed to determine how bad the plaque buildup may be, as well as determine the depth of the pockets which form between the teeth and gums. In some cases, we may employ x-ray technology to determine if any bone loss has occurred due to the disease.
Depending on how severe the gum disease is, will change the invasiveness of the treatment. Mild cases of gum disease will be treated with a thorough cleaning of the oral cavity. This will eliminate any plaque and tartar build up that could escalate the infection. Scaling and root planing is a step up from a regular dental cleaning, in which our dentists remove more severe cases of plaque and tartar under anesthesia.
If the gum disease has advanced to periodontitis then oral surgery will need to take place. Surgeries may include bone surgery and bone grafts, if severe bone loss has been experienced by the patient. Flap surgery and soft tissue grafts can be used to reinforce the gums and regenerate tissue loss and attempt to secure loose teeth.
Patients who are in the early stages will only need a cleaning or root planing and scaling, making the disease treatable and preventable. The surgeries are often used when the disease has become too advanced to be curable, and the dentist can only slow down the infection.
Learn more about Periolase Gum Treatment
Help Us Stop Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. The treatment methods that Dr. Snodgrass recommends will depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious.
Thurston Oaks Dental wants to help you prevent gum disease. Book a check-up today and we can teach you how to brush and floss properly. Call us at (360) 514-9212.