Last updated: Mar 31, 2021
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease comes on slowly, sometimes over a period of years. If you don’t keep your bi-annual dentist visits, periodontitis can progress from stage one, gingivitis, to stage four, advanced periodontitis.
The team at our dental practice has years of experience cleaning teeth of tartar and bacteria to maintain a healthy smile. Call for an appointment today to prevent periodontal disease.
Gum disease and periodontal disease occur when bacteria in your mouth turn mucus and food fragments into plaque, a sticky substance that coats your teeth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, the plaque builds up, hardens, and turns into tartar. Tartar irritates your gums, causing them to become swollen and red. Irritated gums often bleed. If the tartar isn’t removed by your family dentist, it leads to infection and a more serious form of gum disease called periodontal disease.
Left untreated, periodontal disease — also called periodontitis — creates pockets between your teeth and gums. These pockets fill with bacteria in which a more severe infection can occur. This may result in damage to the soft gum tissue or even the destruction of the bone that supports your teeth.
Trust dental specialists at Stamford Dental Arts to take care of your periodontal disease symptoms and causes. But to prevent an infection associated with periodontal disease or gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, you need vigilant and proper oral care, including:
- Twice daily brushing
- Daily flossing
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Normal, healthy gums appear firm and pale pink, fitting snug against your teeth. Once plaque or tartar begins the process toward gingivitis or periodontitis, you may notice:
- Bad breath from the bacteria
- Puffy, red, purplish or swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or eat something with a hard texture
- Tooth pain when chewing or extra sensitivity to hot and cold foods and liquids
- Gums that pull away or recede, making your teeth appear larger than normal
- Unusual or new spaces showing between your teeth as the gums shrink
- Pus or a discharge between your teeth as the infection advances and the severe periodontal disease progresses
Depending on your oral and overall health, periodontal disease may become chronic, aggressive, or necrotizing. Discuss your medical history with your nearby dentist in Stamford, CT so all the factors that contribute to your periodontitis or inhibit your healing can be out in the open and fully understood.
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Who’s at Risk for Periodontal Disease?
While anyone can develop plaque and tartar, some may not experience periodontal disease symptoms. Others are at greater risk for painful symptoms. You’re at risk if you:
- Have poor oral health habits
- Are obese
- Smoke or chew tobacco
- Are elderly
- Fight substance abuse
- Are a woman undergoing hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy or menopause
- Have a genetic predisposition
- Suffer from poor nutrition, especially a vitamin C deficiency
- Take medication that contributes to dry mouth
- Have rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, leukemia, or HIV/AIDS
Research suggests the periodontal disease may be linked to respiratory disease, coronary disease, or strokes. At the very least, untreated periodontitis leads to tooth loss, infections, and other oral health issues.
Periodontal Disease Stages and Treatment
Your treatment recommendation depends on the stage of your periodontal disease. As gum disease progresses, it falls into one of four stages:
- Gingivitis. The mildest form, gingivitis shows up as mild redness, swelling, and bleeding. Proper oral hygiene, along with careful tartar treatment by your nearby dentist, reverses the symptoms completely.
- Early periodontitis. At this stage, you see greater inflammation, easier bleeding, and the development of pockets around one or more teeth. Tooth scaling or root planing — which removes the tartar and bacteria from your teeth below the gum line with special instruments or lasers — has proven an effective periodontics treatment. Your dentist may also smooth the tooth surfaces to inhibit bacteria in the future.
- Moderate periodontitis. If your periodontal disease progresses, you see greater pocket depth, receding gums, loosened teeth, persistent bad breath, and possible bone loss. Medications — such as antimicrobial mouthwashes, oral antibiotics, antiseptic chips, antibiotic gels, or enzyme suppressants — eradicate bacteria and the infection while reducing the risk of future bacteria.
- Advanced periodontitis. The most severe stage of periodontitis produces deep pockets, extreme tooth sensitivity, loosened or dislodged teeth, and drifting teeth. You may experience severe bone loss of more than 50 percent. This disease usually requires surgical intervention, including flap surgery to close pockets or grafts of soft tissue or bone. The goals are to remove bacteria and infection, inhibit future bacterial growth and encourage regeneration of bone and soft tissue to previous healthy levels.
If you and your dentist opt for a deep cleaning or surgical intervention, you can expect a painless procedure, since they offer sedation dentistry techniques. But you may experience some irritation and discomfort for a few days. These symptoms usually disappear within a week, after which you’ll notice a reduction in your symptoms. Continue oral health care to keep periodontal disease from recurring. Contact our leading dentist today regarding your periodontal disease treatment options.
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DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide a general dentistry information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult your dentist regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough dental evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local dental practice, to schedule a consultation.