Statistics have shown that between 50 and 80 percent of American adults suffer from some extent of periodontal gum disease. Periodontal gum disease is caused by plaque build-up that causes inflammation of the gums. The symptoms include red, swollen, or bleeding gums; bad breath; painful chewing; sensitive teeth; and even tooth loss. With effective dental hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist, this disease can be preceded or treated if discovered in its early stages. If it persists into its advanced stages, dental practices provide treatment to promote healthy gum tissues and prevent tooth loss.
Periodontal gum disease has many stages and forms depending on the severity and the time left untreated. The initial stage is gingivitis. In this stage, the gums are red in appearance and exhibit mild inflammation and soreness. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis in which the bone tissue begins to deteriorate as the gum separates from the tooth. In the advanced stages of periodontitis, the gum separates further from the tooth as the bone deteriorates even more, causing the tooth to become loose and eventually fall out. In fact, periodontal gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It is important to see a dentist at the first signs so that it does not progress into advanced periodontitis.
The treatment for periodontal gum disease revolves around cleansing the crevice where the gum meets the tooth, called the sulcus. The sulcus becomes deeper with disease and dentists take action when they notice these gaps to restore the health of the gums and prevent losing the tooth. Dentists typically use scaling and root planning to treat infected areas. Scaling is the process of removing plaque from the tooth and root surfaces above and below the gum line and is generally followed up with the process of root planning or the smoothing of the root surfaces so the gums can heal. The final step of the treatment is oral irrigation in which water is shot into the sulcus to flush out germs and plaque. Some dentists may also use antibiotic therapy along with the treatment to reduce pain and the risk of infection.
It is important to see a dentist at the first signs of periodontal gum disease so that it does not progress into advanced periodontitis with a risk of tooth loss. Reliable dental practices can effectively treat it with scaling and root planning as well as with antibiotic therapy to further aid in the healing process. Practicing good dental hygiene habits is the best line of defense against gum disease and if it does occur, be sure to visit a dentist immediately.
After the common belief that if we brush our teeth they can a lifetime, there are some diseases that can affect even the most cautious cleaners. Unlike tooth decay that is primarily caused due to poor dental hygiene, gum diseases such as periodontal disease can happen to people with perfect health, albeit less frequently. Since the disease is caused due to a build-up of bacteria-filled plaque in between the gums and teeth, there is a different procedure for both preventive measures and the treatment of the diseased gum line than traditional dental care, which primarily focuses on preventing tooth decay.
Like any ailment, prevention is more effective than even the best form of treatment for periodontal disease, which with the proper knowledge can only take out about 5 minutes of your day on cleaning your teeth. While it may seem obvious, one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of bacteria that can cause or worsen periodontal disease is to regularly brush the lower parts of the teeth that connect to the gums. Along with proper brushing with a fluoride paste, you should floss around the roots of teeth to prevent the plaque buildup that can loosen the gums and cause further complications.
It is important to be aware of the fact that some conditions that can make a predisposed individual more susceptible to developing periodontal disease. Family history of the disease can greatly increase your predisposition to being affected by it and it is a good idea to alert your dentist if it runs in your family. People who partake in tobacco use in the form of cigarettes or chew also greatly increase their odds of getting infections in their gums.
Periodontal disease is usually treatable when done early by a dentist with knowledge of the symptoms. Bleeding or receding gums and loose feeling teeth, accompanied by a lingering bad taste, may be warning signs that you are developing periodontal disease and it is urgent that you seek treatment. If you are concerned that you may have the beginning symptoms of the disease, call your local dentist and schedule an appointment so they can begin taking steps to hinder the development and prevent further infections. Untreated periodontal disease has even been linked to developing heart disease.
The standard procedure for treating periodontal disease often involves a thorough cleaning of the area of the gums that corresponds to the roots of the teeth, followed up with smoothing the roots to prevent further infections. However, for more severe cases that result in tooth loss, implants and crowns may be necessary to protect the remaining teeth from further damage. If you have already diagnosed with periodontal disease or believe you have the symptoms, your dentist will give you an individualized treatment plan. Closely following this treatment plan can make a significant difference in your health.[Top]