Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults in the developed world. Periodontal disease occurs when the toxins found in plaque begin to irritate or inflame the gingiva (gum tissue). The resulting bacterial infection, often known as gingivitis, can eventually lead to the destruction of the gum tissue and underlying bone. Without treatment, periodontal disease can also lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.
There are many common types of periodontal disease, including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to halt bone and tissue loss.
Common Signs & Symptoms
It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any symptoms, such as pain. This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, you should seek the advice of a general dentist or periodontist as soon as possible:
Bleeding when brushing, flossing, or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection. The toxins in plaque cause a bacterial infection, which makes the tissues prone to bleeding.
Pain, redness, or swelling
A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red, or painful for no apparent reason. It is essential to halt the progression of the infection before the gum tissue and jawbone have been affected. It is also critical to treat the infection before travels other areas of the body in the bloodstream.
Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession. The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones. This makes the teeth look longer and the smile appear more “toothy.”
Breath odor can originate from the back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, the food we consume, or tobacco use. However, old food particles that sit between the teeth and underneath the gumline also can cause bad breath. The deeper gum pockets can house more debris and bacteria, causing a foul odor.
Loose teeth/change in bite pattern
A sign of rapidly progressing periodontitis is the loosening or shifting of the teeth in the affected area. As the bone tissue gets destroyed, teeth become loose or may shift in position.
Pus oozing from between the teeth is a definitive sign that a periodontal infection is in progress. The pus is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
It is crucial to halt the progression of periodontal disease before it causes further damage. The dentist will initially assess the whole mouth to learn the progress of the disease. The dentist may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical or surgical treatment.
In the case of moderate periodontal disease, a dentist will clean the pockets (under the gumline) of the teeth. This procedure is scaling and root planing. The pockets may be filled with antibiotics to promote good healing and kill any bacteria that remain.
Dentists can treat severe periodontitis in several different ways, such as:
- Laser treatment– This reduces the size of the pockets between the teeth and the gums.
- Tissue & bone grafting– Where a considerable amount of bone or gum tissue has been destroyed, the dentist may graft new tissue by inserting a membrane to stimulate tissue growth.
- Pocket elimination surgery– The dentist may choose to perform “flap surgery” to directly reduce the size of the gum pockets.
Schedule an Appointment with a Dentist in Scarborough
You need to visit a dentist in Scarborough at least two times a year. Your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease and provide treatment if necessary. Make an appointment with a dentist in Scarborough so you can protect your oral health.
If you have any further questions about the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, please contact us!