Gum disease is something that is not often detected at an early stage. This is because of the painless nature of gum diseases. The disease is often diagnosed after it progresses from gingivitis (which is the mildest form) to periodontitis (which is a severe form). Periodontitis has been known to cause loss of teeth.
Gum disease is often caused by plaque or calculus build-up around the teeth. This is caused by negligence in maintaining proper oral hygiene. The disease is quite common but largely preventable. By regularly visiting our dentists and proper treatment is the only way to stop the development and progress of the disease.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is the inflammation of
- Bone, and
- Periodontal ligament (supporting structures of a tooth).
What does Periodontitis do?
- destroys the soft tissues surrounding a tooth and , if left untreated,
- decays bone causing teeth loosening and
- loss of teeth.
- largely preventable
- Plaque that forms around your teeth. It later hardens to form calculus if not removed by daily brushing and flossing. Scaling (getting calculus removed by your dentist using scaler device) plays an important role in controlling the progress of disease).
- Loose pockets forms between teeth and gums and gives room for more bacteria and plaque to accumulate and fasten the development of disease.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Healthy gums are firm in texture, pale pink in color and fits closely around the teeth. Those affected by periodontal disease shows symptoms that includes:
- swollen, puffy gums
- bright red or purplish gums
- gums tender to touch
- increased bleeding tendency of the gums ( gums bleed readily on probing ( oral examination and that is an alarming point)
- bad taste
- bad breath
- pus may be seen between your teeth and gums
- loosening of teeth
- tooth loss
- pain on biting
- teeth may appear longer in length because your gum moves away from the teeth ( gum recession is a common finding in periodontal disease)
The symptoms of periodontitis are vague and may vary from patient to patient. This calls for and lays emphasis on regular dental checkups as periodontitis is difficult to be noticed. The sooner you seek dental care, the easier it will be to undo the damage that has been caused by the disease.
How can Periodontitis be Differentiated from Other Gum Diseases?
Gingivitis can be differentiated from a more serious gum infection such as periodontitis in many ways:
- Gingivitis involves gums only whereas periodontitis involves the entire periodontium ( supporting structures of a tooth )
- Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease with no irreversible bone damage, whereas periodontitis ends in a stage where the bone damage becomes irreversible and subsequently results in tooth loss.
- Switching back to maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can prevent and reverse gingivitis. Periodontitis demands a proper interval based dental appointments.
Periodontal treatment is also called as periodontal maintenance. It involves thorough cleaning or removal of tartar/calculus present on and around the teeth in order to prevent further damage to the teeth and bone. These common procedure includes:
- NON SURGICAL APPROACH:
- Scaling- Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and beneath your gums.
- Root planning- It involves smoothening of the root surfaces by removing plaque build-ups and bacterial byproducts from the tooth root. This is done is several appointments.
- Antibiotics- Oral antibiotics, antibacterial mouth rinses and gels are prescribed as a supportive element to periodontal therapy.
- SURGICAL APPROACH:
- Pocket reduction surgery- to eliminated periodontal pockets
- Soft tissue and bone grafting: in cases of severely destroyed gums and bone so as to replace them.
What to Expect on Your Visit to the Dentist?
You will most probably be assessed by a specialist in the treatment of periodontal disease, called as a periodontist.
At your dentist, you will be asked about:
- Time since the symptoms started
- Regularity in brushing and flossing teeth. Educate you about proper brushing methods-
- Regularity in dental visits
- Medical conditions and medications you take
- Usage of tobacco products
You shouldn’t be reluctant to ask questions about your health as it will make most of your time with the dentist.
Taking Care of Teeth Post Treatment
Maintaining your dental heath after getting treated for periodontal disease is very essential. It is best achieved by:
- Brushing teeth properly and twice daily ; electric tooth brushes are more effective
- Flossing teeth daily
- Using mouth rinses as prescribed by your dentist.
- Getting regular scaling sessions and dental visits as prescribed by your dentist
- Quit smoking as it is also an important risk factor for plaque accumulation.