Periodontal - Gum Diseases

Causes and prevention

What Is It?

 

Periodontitis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that involves inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria found in dental plaque and often, but not always, starts as gingivitis.

In trying to eliminate the bacterial infection, your body produces substances that destroy the structures that hold the teeth in the jaw, including the periodontal ligament and underlying bone. As this process continues, the teeth become loose. Pockets form between the teeth and gums, allowing more bacteria to accumulate. Left untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.

Periodontitis usually is relatively painless. The onset of significant pain may signal the development of an abscess.

Older adults are more likely to have periodontitis.

People who smoke are four to seven times more likely than nonsmokers to get periodontitis. Smoking may impair the body's defense against bacteria.

Symptoms

 

Symptoms include:

* Reddened, swollen or bleeding gums

* Receding gums

* Loose Teeth

* Bad breath

* An unpleasant taste in the mouth

However, many people are unaware of these symptoms or do not believe they are signs of a serious problem.

 

Diagnosis

Your dentist will examine your mouth, paying special attention to your gums and teeth. If you have periodontitis, a dental probeinserted between your tooth and your gums will penetrate deeper than it normally would.

Your dentist may also test for loose teeth. Teeth have a normal range of mobility, but in people with periodontitis, the teeth are looser due to the destruction of the fibers and bone supporting the teeth.

Your dentist may also order X-rays to help diagnose periodontitis. These can be compared with older X-rays to see if changes have occurred in your teeth and gums.

Expected Duration

Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis cannot be completely reversed. In some situations, the supporting fibers and bone that have been lost can be regenerated. In most cases, however, particularly in advanced stages of the disease, the effects are permanent. However, treatment and improved oral hygiene at any stage can improve the health of your gums and prevent further destruction.

Prevention

Daily brushing and flossing (morning and night) and regular visits for professional cleaning can help prevent periodontitis or allow you to have it treated during its earliest stages. If you smoke, quitting will reduce your risk significantly.

Treatment

 

Treatment depends on how severe your periodontitis is. Dentists classify the disease as mild, moderate or severe.

Mild periodontitis is usually treated first with a thorough cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque or calculus that has accumulated on the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) and slightly below the gum line. Root planing has two purposes: 1) to remove plaque or calculus from the roots of your teeth and 2) to smooth the roots of the teeth, making it more difficult for bacteria to cling to them. This, combined with good oral hygiene at home, often is enough for successful treatment.

Moderate periodontitis may require more than scaling and root planing. Typically, your dentist will scale and root-plane your teeth. If this does not take care of the problem, he or she may decide that you need surgical treatment. Surgery can involve reshaping the gums to fit the teeth (resective surgeries) or encouraging lost bone to regrow (regenerative surgeries). Your dentist will decide whether you will need surgery and what type you need.

Severe periodontitis likely will require surgical intervention and, in some instances, antibiotics. At this stage of disease, tooth loss is a distinct possibility.

No matter which treatment you undergo, you should start a strict regimen of brushing and flossing to help restore your teeth to health.

When To Call A Professional

 

The best course of action is to get regular dental checkups.

If you have persistent bleeding or swelling of your gums or notice loose teeth, call Haddon Heights Smiles. – contact us today!

What is Gum Disease?

 

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through daily brushing and flossingplaque can build up and the bacteria infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.

There are three stages of gum disease:

* Gingivitis: this is the earliest stage of gum disease, an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gumline. If daily brushing and flossing do not remove the plaque, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be improved, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.

* Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gumline, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.

* Advanced Periodontitis: in this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and, if aggressive treatment can't save them, teeth may need to be removed.

How do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease can occur at any age, but it is most common among adults. If detected in its early stages, gum disease can be improved so see your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

* Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender

* Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing

* Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded

* Gums that have separated, or pulled away, from your teeth, creating a pocket

* Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

* Pus coming from between your teeth and gums

* Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

How is Gum Disease Treated?

 

* The early stages of gum disease can often improve with proper brushing and flossing. Good oral health will help keep plaque from building up.

* A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. Your dentist or hygienist will clean or "scale" your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gumline. If your condition is more severe, a root planing procedure may be performed. Root planing helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth making it more difficult for plaque to deposit there.

 

By scheduling regular checkups, early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition. If your condition is more advanced, treatment in the dental office will be required.

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