Periodontal Disease

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.  If periodontal disease is not treated, it 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 of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to halt subsequent bone and tissue loss.

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection affecting the gums and structures supporting the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and various other oral complications. At Sisko Dentistry in Tallmadge, OH, we aim to educate our patients on the implications of periodontal disease and offer comprehensive treatment options tailored to individual needs.

Common Signs & Symptoms

It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or 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, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:

  • Unexplained bleeding – 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 jaw bone have been affected.  It is also critical to treat the infection before it is carried into the bloodstream to other areas of the body.
  • Longer-looking teeth – Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession.  The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, thus making the teeth look longer and the smile appear more “toothy.”
  • Bad breath/halitosis – Although breath odor can originate from back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, from the food we consume, or from tobacco use, bad breath may be caused by old food particles which sit between the teeth and underneath the gumline.  The deeper gum pockets are able to 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 that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose or may shift in position.
  • Pus – 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.

Grasping the Importance of Treatment

Periodontal disease not only affects oral health but can also have implications for overall health. Untreated gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. By promptly addressing periodontal issues, you protect more than just your smile. Moreover, early intervention can prevent the potential for more invasive treatments down the road. The esthetic implications, such as receding gums and tooth loss, further emphasize the significance of timely care.

Guiding You Through the Treatment Process

The treatment for periodontal disease largely depends on its severity. At Sisko Dentistry, our personalized approach involves:

  • Initial Examination: Identifying the extent of the disease through dental x-rays and gum pocket measurements.
  • Deep Cleaning: This involves scaling to remove tartar and plaque below the gumline and root planing to smooth the tooth roots.
  • Medications or Antimicrobial Therapies: These can be prescribed to control bacterial infection.
  • Advanced Treatments: In severe cases, surgical interventions may be necessary.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

It is of paramount importance to halt the progression of periodontal disease before it causes further damage to the gum tissues and jawbone.  The dentist will initially assess the whole mouth in order to ascertain the progress of the disease.  When a diagnosis has been made, the dentist may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical or surgical treatment or both.

In the case of moderate periodontal disease, the pockets (under the gumline) of the teeth will be completely cleared of debris using a procedure called scaling and root planing.  The pockets may be filled with antibiotics to promote good healing and kill any bacteria that remain.

Severe periodontitis can be treated in several different ways, such as:

  • Laser treatment – This can be used to reduce 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 elect to 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.
Dentist explaining Periodontal Disease to a patient using a dental model

Dedication to Prevention

Preventing periodontal disease involves maintaining excellent oral hygiene and understanding risk factors. Regular brushing and flossing help eliminate the bacterial plaque responsible for gum disease. Additionally, routine dental check-ups enable early detection and intervention. Lifestyle choices, such as a balanced diet and avoiding tobacco, further contribute to gum health.

The Bright Outlook for Treated Patients

The path to oral recovery becomes significantly more straightforward when periodontal disease is identified and treated in its initial stages. Many patients, upon completing their treatment, often witness a noticeable transformation. They enjoy the aesthetic benefits of healthier-looking gums and appreciate the enhanced oral comfort free from the pain and sensitivity previously caused by the disease.

However, it’s essential to recognize that while treatment can effectively address periodontal issues, the journey doesn’t end there. The reclaimed oral health must be safeguarded diligently. The key to ensuring the longevity of the treatment benefits lies in consistent oral hygiene practices at home, combined with regular dental check-ups. This proactive approach will keep potential flare-ups at bay and secure the patient’s radiant and healthy smile for the long haul.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. If untreated, it can result in tooth loss and other oral issues.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups are essential preventive measures. Lifestyle choices, such as a balanced diet and abstaining from tobacco, also play a role in maintaining gum health.

Are the effects of periodontal disease reversible?

Early stages of periodontal disease, like gingivitis, can be reversed with proper oral care and professional cleanings. More advanced stages require specific treatments but can be managed and controlled to prevent further complications.

Commit to a Healthier Smile with Sisko Dentistry

Are you concerned about the health of your gums? Trust the experts at Sisko Dentistry to guide you through the journey of understanding, treating, and preventing periodontal disease. A healthier smile awaits. Schedule your consultation today by calling (330) 633-9510.

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