What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that affects your gums, your teeth, and your jawbone. When it begins, it is barely noticeable. For this reason, it often goes unnoticed, and therefore untreated. When untreated, periodontal disease progressively gets worse and can ultimately end in tooth loss. Periodontal disease requires professional treatment and will not go away on its own. At Karl Zeren DDS, we can diagnose periodontal disease and provide you with the treatment you need to restore the health of your mouth.
The Progression Of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease starts with a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Both irritate the gum tissue, which triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. This response causes the gums to begin to swell. Untreated, your swollen gums begin to pull away from your teeth and pockets form. These pockets begin collecting bacteria and food debris. The bacteria continue attacking the gums from the inside and also begin attacking the supporting structures of your teeth. The longer the disease goes untreated, the worse it becomes, and it can eventually end in tooth loss.
How Do You Get Periodontal Disease?
There are several different issues that can lead to periodontal disease. One of the most common causes is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are essential for removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth. If you skip parts of your oral hygiene routine or even just miss certain parts of your mouth when you do brush and floss, plaque and bacteria can accumulate.
Other Causes Of Periodontal Disease Include:
- Misaligned teeth. When your teeth are misaligned, it can create hiding places for plaque and bacteria that are harder to effectively clean.
- Smoking, or using other tobacco products. Cigarettes restrict your blood flow, which slows the delivery of essential nutrients to your gums.
- Excessive alcohol consumption. Excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to dry mouth, which creates an ideal environment to grow bacteria.
- Nutrient deficiencies. Certain nutrients, such as B12 and vitamin C, play an important role in gum health. A well-balanced diet can help to keep your whole body, including your gums, healthy.
- Certain medications. There are many medications that can cause dry mouth.
- Hormonal changes, including pregnancy and menopause.
Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease
The symptoms that you experience when you have periodontal disease vary depending upon how far it has progressed. The earliest, and most easily treatable, stage of periodontal disease, commonly called gingivitis, is characterized by red, swollen gums that may bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Other symptoms that accompany periodontal disease include:
- Gum recession.
- Small spaces showing up between your teeth.
- Tooth sensitivity, which occurs as a result of root exposure.
- Your teeth may become loose.
- Tooth misalignment, as loose teeth begin to shift around.
- Tooth loss.
Treating Periodontal Disease
There are some different treatments available for periodontal disease. The type of treatment you receive will depend upon the severity of your situation.
- Scaling and root planing therapy, which is a nonsurgical deep cleaning of your teeth.
- Periodontal maintenance, or regularly scheduled visits that may be recommend following initial treatment for periodontal disease.
- Gum flap surgery, which allows for a more thorough cleaning of your teeth.
- Pocket reduction surgery, which enables an effective cleaning of your teeth so that the pockets can be reduced.
- Soft tissue grafts, which restore a natural, healthy gumline after gum recession.
- Bone grafting, which restores bone mass and is typically done before dental implant surgery.
Learn more about Periodontal treatment
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Gum disease occurs when there is a bacterial infection in your mouth. The bacteria cause your gums to become irritated and inflamed. As the disease progresses, it grows worse. What starts as red, swollen gums can turn into loose teeth and tooth loss. This condition is often thought only to affect your mouth. The truth, however, is that bacteria in your mouth can get into your bloodstream and affect the health of your heart. If you have gum disease, Karl Zeren DDS can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health and protect your heart health.
Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Your oral care is important. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. It is also recommended that you have your teeth cleaned and examined professionally at least twice yearly. These habits are essential for maintaining the health of your mouth. Being lax in any component of your oral hygiene significantly increases your risk for gum disease. When gum disease goes untreated, it can even lead to tooth loss.
When periodontal disease strikes, getting treatment right away is essential. Call Karl Zeren DDS to schedule your appointment today at (410) 252-0871.