Periodontal disease is one of the most common dental issues and affects almost 50% of Americans over the age of 30. The word “periodontal” translates to “around the tooth”, therefore periodontal disease affects the soft tissues that surround the tooth including the gums, periodontal ligament cementum, and alveolar bone. There are two different types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that is characterized by gum inflammation. When gingivitis is not properly treated, it can develop into periodontitis, which is an advanced form of gum disease that can affect the periodontal ligament, cementum, and alveolar bone.
Did You Know?
As gum disease advances, it can cause the teeth to become loose due to the deterioration of the supporting structures. In the most severe cases, periodontal disease can even result in tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and accounts for 70% of missing teeth in adults.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have periodontal disease?
While only your dentist can accurately diagnose periodontal disease, you may have periodontal disease if you have noticed one or more of the following symptoms:
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums (teeth may look longer than normal)
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Loose teeth
- New spaces between teeth
However, it is important to note that in the early stages of periodontal disease, you may not notice symptoms. To determine if you are affected by periodontal disease, schedule a consultation with your Maxtown Family dentist today.
What can I expect when being treated for periodontal disease at Maxtown Family Dental?
The first step to treating periodontal disease is to examine your gums. Your dentist may gently probe your gums to check for tenderness or bleeding, and they will measure your gum pockets to check for signs of gum recession. If periodontal disease is suspected, they will then provide you with a personalized treatment plan. In many cases, periodontal disease requires regular treatment to manage it and prevent it from progressing.
Treatment for gingivitis generally consists of having your teeth thoroughly cleaned to remove plaque, tartar, and excess bacteria from the mouth. Your dentist will also educate you on the proper brushing and flossing techniques so that you can make the most of your daily oral hygiene routine. It is extremely important to schedule regular dental cleanings every six months with your Maxtown Family dentist in order to prevent gingivitis from advancing into periodontitis. With proper oral hygiene, gingivitis can be reversed.
In cases where gingivitis has advanced into periodontitis or you are diagnosed with periodontitis, then your treatment will be slightly different. While both gingivitis and periodontitis benefit from good oral hygiene and regular teeth cleanings, periodontitis requires a deeper teeth cleaning. Periodontal cleanings are known as scaling and root planing cleanings. Scaling refers to scraping plaque and tartar off the surface of teeth and exposed tooth roots, while planing refers to smoothing rough spots on the tooth roots. Scaling removes excess bacteria, while planing makes it harder for future bacteria to adhere to the roots. Both practices promote healing. Unlike gingivitis, however, periodontitis cannot be reversed and can only be managed to prevent it from getting worse. Depending on the seriousness of your case, you may need to have cleanings more often.
What causes periodontal disease and how can I prevent it?
The most common cause of periodontal disease is a lack of proper oral hygiene that allows excess bacteria to accumulate along the gum line and infect the gums. Other risk factors for periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, aging, genetics, certain medical conditions, stress, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, substance abuse, and being immunocompromised.