Over 3.5 million people are suffering from varying types of oral mouth diseases. Among the most common of these is periodontal disease.
Though the periodontal disease can be frightening, there are ways to avoid it. Keep reading to learn more about periodontal treatment and how periodontal disease works.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that causes irreversible damage to the bone. Bacteria live in large numbers on the teeth and gums, and when teeth are not cleaned well, bacteria continue to thrive.
An overgrowth of bacteria leads to plaque and tartar build-up along the gumline resulting in inflammation of the gums. If inadequate brushing and cleansing of the teeth continue over a long time, periodontal disease develops. Gingivitis is similar, but it is the precursor to periodontal disease.
Lack of proper oral hygiene is not the only contributor to gum disease. Many other factors can aid in the development of periodontal diseases, such as:
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
- Anything that negatively impacts your immune system
- Certain Medications
- Poor diet and lifestyle
Heart disease is also linked to periodontal disease. If you do not treat periodontal disease, you risk losing your teeth as well as increasing your chances of having a stroke, heart problems, and other health issues.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Like any disease, periodontal disease comes in stages. Each stage brings different symptoms, and they vary in severity, but the most common symptoms are:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Teeth that are loose or falling out
- Pain or tenderness along the gum line and tooth, which leads to difficulty chewing
- Tarter and plaque that cannot be removed by regular brushing
- Consistent bad breath strange taste in your mouth
- Gums that are red, swollen, ooze pus, or are receding
- Gaps between teeth
It’s important to remember you might have periodontal disease without noticing any symptoms at all. This is why regularly visiting your dentist is critical to the health of your teeth.
How Do I Know if I Have Periodontal Disease?
Several of the symptoms above can be an indication of gum disease, but only a visit to the dentist can result in a proper diagnosis. At your dental appointment, your dentist may inquire or ask you questions about your symptoms.
They may want to know when the symptoms first started and how often you’ve been experiencing them. They’ll likely ask about your oral hygiene routine, medications you’re taking, and the frequency of dental visits.
If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, there is good news. It’s treatable, and depending on the stage, there’s usually a positive outcome. However, while your dentist can prescribe treatment, it’s up to you to continue the treatment and reverse the disease before it worsens.
There are many avenues to take when treating periodontal disease. Let’s look at some below.
The dentist will review with you specific ways you can improve your oral hygiene routine at home. They may suggest a particular toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrush, or provide other tips on how to keep your teeth clean.
If periodontal disease is far enough along that proper oral hygiene will not affect, your dentist might suggest surgery.
One type of surgery is called flap surgery. During flap surgery, the dentist will administer anesthesia and lift your gums away from your teeth to remove the build-up that’s unreachable. After the tarter is removed, the gums are put back in place.
If the build-up is considerable, you could have bone loss. Some dentists will need to do a bone graft to encourage new bone growth on teeth to replace what’s been destroyed.
Some several different medications and antibiotics are used to treat periodontal disease. They come in a variety of forms from mouthwashes, gels, suppressants, or oral. Each of them has the same role, which is to control the bacteria in the mouth and reduce inflammation.
Most dentists perform an exam and cleaning at your appointments if you visit them regularly. However, if periodontal disease is on the horizon, they may need to issue a deep cleaning on your teeth, which is called scaling and rooting.
This process takes significantly longer than routine cleaning and may require more than one visit. During scaling and rooting, the dentist will scrape off the plaque and smooth the teeth to prevent bacteria from returning.
Left untreated and undetected, individuals with periodontal disease might lose their teeth or suffer from other health problems throughout the body. If you end up going through a treatment plan, it’s vital to keep in contact with your dentist for regular check-ups, so the problem doesn’t return.
The good news is that periodontal disease can be fixed and prevented! One of the best prevention methods for avoiding periodontal disease is maintaining a healthy oral routine which includes:
- Brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes with a toothpaste containing fluoride
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for yearly check-ups and cleaning
- Getting a new toothbrush every 3-4 months and disposing of the old one
- Use a mouthwash after brushing to combat even more bacteria
- Eat a healthy diet that caters to strong teeth and bones, and stay away from sugary foods and drinks
- Developing these habits can lead to stronger teeth and gums over time.
Don’t Lose Your Teeth!
Even with periodontal treatment to treat the disease, it’s still important to care for your teeth and gums every day. If you haven’t already, start a habit of brushing and flossing daily to prevent periodontal disease and have a healthier smile for years to come.
Are you looking for friendly and educated dentists? Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!