Periodontal Disease Treatment
When bacteria grow in your mouth, you may develop periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease or simply gum disease. If your gum disease isn't treated, your gum tissue may become destroyed, which can lead to the loss of teeth.
Gingivitis? Periodontitis? Which Is Which?
Gingivitis, which is the medical term for inflammation of the gums, usually shows up before periodontitis, which is the term for gum disease. Just because you've been diagnosed with gingivitis, however, doesn't mean you'll end up with periodontitis.
When the bacteria in plaque begin to increase, the gums can become inflamed. This inflammation is an early sign of gingivitis, and you're likely to notice it when you experience your teeth bleeding during brushing. However, despite the discomfort, your teeth are still safe in their sockets at this stage, with no irreversible damage to gum tissue or to bone.
However, if you leave gingivitis untreated, the disease can progress and become periodontitis. A person with periodontitis experiences the inner layers of gum and bone pulling away from the teeth. This results in small pockets between the gums and teeth. When debris collects inside these pockets, infection is likely to occur.
While the body's immune system goes to work fighting this bacterial infection, the plaque usually continues to spread below the gum line. At this point, both the bacteria from the plaque and the enzymes the body is using to fight the infection start to produce toxins. These toxins affect the bone and the connective tissue that hold the tooth in place.
As the pocket between gum and tooth deepens, the process repeats. More gum tissue is destroyed, as is bone, until finally, the tooth is no longer being held securely in place.
Once the tooth becomes unanchored and loose, you're likely to lose it. In fact, gum disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss.
Factors That Cause and Contribute to Gum Disease
The most common cause of gum disease is plaque. Other factors can also cause and contribute to gum disease, including:
- Hormonal Changes. When you undergo puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, your gums become more sensitive. This sensitivity sets the stage for the development of gingivitis.
- Illness. Diabetics are often at higher risk of developing infections, including infections in the mouth, such as cavities and periodontal disease Hawthorne NJ. In addition, any disease that interferes with the immune system, including cancer, can affect the gums.
- Medications. Certain medications lessen the flow of saliva. Because saliva protects teeth and gums, these meds can have a negative effect on oral health.
- Bad Habits. Smoking is one bad habit that affects gum tissue, keeping it from repairing itself normally. In addition, bad habits regarding oral hygiene encourage gingivitis to develop; this includes failure to brush and floss daily.
- Family History. If your family has a tendency toward dental disease, you may be more likely to develop gingivitis.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease can be a stealth attack on the body. Often it produces few noticeable symptoms, even as it progresses to the later stages. However, even when the warning signs are subtle, they may still be present. Look for these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums, especially during and after brushing teeth
- Gums that are red, tender and swollen
- Bad breath and bad taste that remains persistent
- Receding gums
- Pockets between the teeth and gums
- Teeth that become loose or shift in place
- Changes in the fit of dentures
- Changes in the fit of teeth when biting down
You may have some gum disease even if you don't have obvious symptoms. Gum disease can also affect only the molars, where it tends to be less noticeable.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, call us at Hawthorne Dental & Associates for a free consultation. Our periodontist recognizes even the subtlest signs of gum disease and can help you develop a treatment plan that's effective and affordable.
Treating Gum Disease
Because gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, most patients can prevent it with a thorough, effective daily routine of oral care designed to prevent plaque buildup. Visiting our office for regular professional tooth cleaning is also vital in preventing gingivitis.
If you are diagnosed with periodontitis, Dr. Rosenson may recommend that you see our periodontist Dr. Csillag for professional treatment.
Establish a Daily Oral Health Routine
When you are inconsistent or incomplete in removing plaque as part of your daily oral care routine, you're likely to experience gingivitis. Prevent the plaque buildup that leads to gingivitis by brushing twice a day, flossing every day and rinsing your mouth every day with an antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine®.
See Your Dentist on a Regular Basis
Help keep your mouth clean and healthy by visiting the dentist regularly for professional cleanings. Most people need to visit the dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings that remove tartar from the teeth and help prevent plaque buildup. At your visit, point out any potential signs of gingivitis and ask how you can improve your dental health.
Should You See a Periodontist or Dentist?
See a general dentist when you need general dental care. A periodontist like our Dr. Csillag specializes on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, focusing on the bones and gums that provide support to the teeth.
Treatments for Advanced Periodontal Disease
Treatments for periodontitis include scaling, which involves removing tartar and plaque from below the gum line. A more extensive deep cleaning treatment known as root planing smooths the tooth's root; this helps gums reattach to the tooth. If periodontitis is advanced, gum surgery may be the treatment of choice.
For a free consultation for gum disease, call us at Hawthorne Dental Associates today.