Treatment of Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease or gum disease even though you may not be aware is a very common disease. The following section provides you further insights on periodontal disease as well as how the disease can be treated.
Your local NoFrills Dental practice comprises of a team of experts who have over the years successfully treated the periodontal disease. In case you are diagnosed with the disease, the dental team at your local practice will recommend a treatment plan to combat the disease.
- Fact: More than 50% of patients have periodontal disease and most of them are not even aware they are suffering from this disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. It is actually an infection that affects gum tissue and supporting bone structure. When your gum tissue is healthy, it securely holds each tooth in place but when affected by periodontal disease it withdraws from the teeth.
If left untreated, periodontal disease worsens and damages gum tissue and supporting bone structure. With time, you may lose your teeth or they might have to be extracted. Periodontal disease should be treated during its early stages to prevent loss of teeth.
Overall health and Periodontal Disease
Some diseases like diabetes and heart disease make you prone to periodontal disease. Additionally high stress levels and stroke may be linked to gum disease. Research is still on going to establish the relationship between these diseases and periodontal disease.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
You may not be aware that you have periodontal disease especially during its early stages since usually there is no pain. However if you experience the symptoms listed below then you should immediately visit your dentist. It is for this reason that you need to go for dental checkups regularly.
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Sore, red or swollen gums
- Gum withdrawal from teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- White discharge (pus) between gums and teeth
- Change in your bite
- Change in partial denture fitting
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Plaque causes periodontal disease. Plaque is a sticky bacterial coating that keeps accumulating on the surface of teeth. Bacteria contained in plaque causes gum irritation and inflammation.
When gums become inflamed they withdraw from teeth forming spaces known as pockets.Additional bacteria accumulate in these pockets and if the pockets are left untreated gum the condition worsens.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
To help prevent gum disease you can include the following practices in your dental routine:
- Brushing your teeth two times daily using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Flossing your teeth once every day or you can also use any other method to clean between your teeth.
- Rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash – you can ask your dentist to recommend a product that best meets your dental needs.
- Eat healthy foods and cut down on snacks.Learn more about healthy diet on choosemyplate.gov.
- Regularly see your dentist for dental check-ups.Plaque traps bacteria and germ and if it is not removed from the teeth, with time it hardens and becomes tartar. Tartar can only be removed by professional cleaning.
Risk factors associated with periodontal disease
While anyone can develop periodontal disease, the following factors make one more prone to the disease. These include:
- Tobacco use. Chewing or smoking tobacco increases the susceptibility to periodontal disease.
- Bad oral hygiene
- Other diseases that lower your immunity including AIDS and diabetes. Such diseases increase risk of developing periodontal disease.
- Various medications including blood pressure medicines and steroids can have an effect on gum tissue. Some of these medications can cause a reduction in saliva flow which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum tissue damage.You should let your dentist know if you are using any medication and also if you notice any health changes.
- Hormonal changes increase the risk of developing periodontal disease since these changes make the gum for susceptible to plaque and bacterial infections. People who experience hormonal changes include pregnant women, teens and those using contraceptives.
- Genetics. In case you come from a family with a history of losing teeth then you should look out for changes in your gums.
- Saliva can transmit periodontal disease causing bacteria.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
The gums become red, sore, swollen and they may even bleed due to irritation by bacteria contained in plaque. If you do not remove plaque from your teeth, with time it hardens and becomes tartar.
With time, tartar and plaque accumulation at the gum line increases and bacteria contained in plaque damages soft tissues supporting the teeth. If the disease is still not treated even at this stage, plaque bacteria also damage the supporting bone tissue.
Periodontal Disease Examination
Your dentist or hygienist then takes x-rays to examine the teeth supporting bone structure. A periodontal probe is used to measure periodontal pocket depth. Healthy teeth normally have periodontal pocket depths of about three millimeters. As the disease becomes severe, the depth of the pockets also increases. If the examination reveals periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend a treatment plan or you may be referred to a periodontal disease specialist known as a periodontist.
|Periodontal probe showing a pocket forming between the tooth root and the gums.|
|X-ray showing supporting bone.||X-ray showing periodontal bone loss.|
Do not let periodontal disease destroy your teeth. Simply practice brushing and cleaning between teeth, eat healthy food and make regular visits to your dentist. This way you will enjoy healthy smiles all your life.
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