Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gingivitis is the mild form of periodontal disease that can be easily reversed with proper flossing and tooth brushing. Most dental patients have this form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis, the severest form of gum disease. With periodontitis, the gum pulls away from the teeth, leaving pockets for the plaque to accumulate in. These pockets soon get infected and the jaw bone and connective tissue holding the teeth in place get destroyed by the toxins emitted from the bacteria. Teeth may become loose and fall out.
How Do I know if I Have Periodontal Disease?
With periodontal disease affecting half of Americans, chances are you may want to stay up on your routine dental cleanings and exams. Be sure to see a dentist if you notice or experience any of these common symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Some patients are at a higher risk of getting gum disease than others. Those who smoke, have diabetes, have AIDS, have had cancer treatments and those who take certain medications that can dry out the mouth. Hormonal changes in women can also make them more susceptible to getting gum disease. Some patients are also genetically more prone to getting gum disease than others.
Both men and women can get periodontal disease and it can appear in both teens and adults. Men in their 30s and 40s, however, have the highest prevalence of periodontal disease.
How is Periodontal Disease Avoided or Treated?
If you have gingivitis or are concerned you may have gum disease, the best way to combat it (or its escalation into periodontitis) is through proper personal dental hygiene. Twice daily teeth and gum cleaning and daily flossing will keep food particles and debris from getting stuck in and between teeth which can lead to plaque build-up.
If your periodontal disease escalates into periodontitis, your dentist will perform one of two treatment options, depending on the severity of the periodontitis. For mild to moderate cases of periodontitis, deep cleaning, more commonly known as gum scaling and planing, will be performed. This deep cleaning involves removing plaque and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas just above and below the gum line and the scraping of rough patches on the teeth where plaque can accumulate. Only in serve or extreme cases will surgery be done to treat periodontitis. Bone grafts and flap surgery are the two common surgeries performed. Bone graft surgery will rebuild the bone lost in the jaw. In flap surgery, small sections of the gum are peeled back to clean out the tartar underneath. The gums are then sutured back together.
Periodontal disease is nothing to take lightly. It can cause pain and discomfort and escalate to bone and teeth loss. If you think you may have periodontal disease, schedule an appointment at Out of This World Dentistry today. Our dentists have a combined 75 years of dental experience and we have three convenient locations.