Periodontal diseases are conditions that impact the gum tissue and bone surrounding your teeth. Pain is typically not a symptom of periodontal diseases, which means they often go untreated. However, it is important to address periodontal issues as soon as you recognize the symptoms, as they can develop into more serious and expensive problems.
Periodontal disease is an infection that can impact the health and structure of gum tissues and oral bones. The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and results in the inflammation of the gums that support the teeth.
While common, this condition is mostly preventable. The causes are typically poor diet, poor brushing and flossing habits, or smoking, which all lead to the buildup of bacteria. These sticky bacteria, otherwise known as plaque, can harden on teeth and lead to more serious gum disease and erosion.
Some signs of periodontal disease are red or inflamed gums, bleeding gums, pain when chewing, or tooth loss/loose teeth. Other symptoms include persistent bad breath, sensitive teeth, or receding gums (teeth that appear longer).
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your dentist to discuss the potential concerns. At the dental visit, they will most likely examine your mouth for any signs of redness or inflammation and use a probe (a small ruler) to measure the pockets surrounding your teeth. This is to test the depth of the pockets (the pockets in a healthy mouth tend to measure one to three millimeters).
When treating periodontal disease, the most important factor is to control infection and stop it from spreading. Nonsurgical treatment can include scaling and root planing. This involves the dentist thoroughly cleaning the area and removing deposits of plaque and tartar on the enamel and surface of the teeth. This allows the gum tissue to heal and shrinks the periodontal pockets. To reduce discomfort, a local anesthetic may be applied during the procedure.
In addition, medications could be prescribed to eliminate the infection and heal the gums.
If the gum pockets are not successfully healed through these methods, your dentist may recommend periodontal surgery to remove the infected tissue and minimize any future damage. If the pockets continue to grow, more bacteria will develop, so it is important to treat gum disease as soon as possible.
In order to prevent gum disease, keep your mouth healthy by brushing at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, flossing regularly, visiting the dentist for biannual checkups, and quitting smoking.
If you suspect you may be showing signs of periodontal disease, don’t hesitate to reach out to a dental professional for treatment. While gum disease is often painless, going without treatment can result in long-lasting negative consequences to your health. At Wedgewood Dental, our experienced and supportive dental staff can work with you from diagnosis to treatment to ensure you receive the care you need. Call today for a consultation.
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