Do you experience bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth? Are your gums tender, red, or swollen? You could be experiencing gum disease, and you might need periodontal disease treatment. To help you better understand, here are some commonly asked questions.
Gum disease is an infection, swelling, or soreness of the gums and other tissues supporting your teeth. There are two forms of gum diseases – namely gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup that leads to inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding bones and structures, leading to a condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is more severe than gingivitis. The gum inflammation forces the tissue away from the tooth creating a gap or a ‘pocket’ where food, debris and bacteria can penetrate. If untreated, this will eventually lead to infection and loss of the bone supporting teeth. Your teeth may loosen, sores might develop, and foul breath from your mouth becomes second to nature.
Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and severe infection that spreads to surrounding tissues and bone structures. In rare cases, the infection can spread to major organs like the heart via the bloodstream, causing serious health complications.
Poor oral hygiene is the primary culprit of gum diseases, leading to bacteria buildup that forms a dental plaque. A healthy mouth is made up of more than 700 species of “good bacteria.” However, when you neglect your oral hygiene, plaque builds up, forming a conducive environment for harmful bacteria.
Other risk factors that may speed up the occurrence of periodontitis include:
A clinical examination is necessary to assess the condition of the gums and other teeth-supporting structures. The dentist performs an initial check-up to determine if the gum disease is periodontitis or gingivitis by using a periodontal probe to measure the distance between the gum line and the “pocket” bottom line.
Additionally, X-rays are obtained to help support the diagnosis of periodontitis. X-ray images show the bones and the surrounding tissues enabling the dental practitioner to determine the extent of bone loss.
The good news is that gum disease is treatable. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, treatment can reverse the disease or halt the progression. Periodontists are likely to deploy one or a combination of the below treatment options: