Nearly half of adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Like most infections, periodontal disease starts off relatively mild and will go away with proper treatment. However, it can result in irreversible damage and may cause tooth loss when ignored.
Let’s review the stages, causes, and warning signs of periodontal disease, so you know when it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal diseases are infections and inflammation of your gums and bone surrounding your teeth. In its mildest form (gingivitis), the gums become swollen, red, and prone to bleeding. Gingivitis is completely reversible, and many adults have reversed the symptoms with proper care.
If gingivitis isn’t addressed, it can develop into a form of periodontitis. As periodontitis progresses, the gums begin pulling away from the bone, and the bone and tissues around the teeth start to decay. Teeth will become loose and may fall out in severe cases.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is most commonly triggered by bacteria buildup on your teeth. These bacteria can settle on your teeth to form plaque without proper oral hygiene.
Plaque is completely normal, and a good brushing and flossing will often take care of it. But if the plaque is left unattended, it can harden to become tartar, which is more difficult to clean. Tartar can spread below the gum line, which causes irritation and leads to periodontal disease.
Your dentist has the tools needed to remove tartar from below your gum line and stop periodontal disease in its tracks.
It’s also important to know that you could have the best oral hygiene in the world and still develop periodontal disease. Some of the other conditions that could lead to gum disease include:
- Hormonal changes (i.e., puberty, pregnancy, menopause)
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to keep up with your oral hygiene routine and see your dentist regularly. If you experience any of the following symptoms between your semi- annual visits, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
- Prolonged bad breath or bad taste
- Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gum line
- Changes in how your teeth fit together when you bite
- Changes in the fit of custom dental appliances
Treating Periodontal Disease
The first step in addressing periodontal disease is to clean your teeth. Your dentist will perform a deep cleaning known as scaling to remove tartar and bacteria from your teeth and under your gum line. Your dentist may also recommend a specific mouthwash or prescribe antibiotics to help mitigate the infection.
Depending on how severe your case is, your dentist may want to pursue another treatment option. Root planing is used to treat periodontal disease by smoothing out the surface of your tooth’s roots, so it’s harder for bacteria to attach. Surgery is performed to restore bone and gum tissue for severe periodontitis.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat Periodontal Disease?
Without treatment, periodontal disease becomes irreversible and leads to tooth decay or loss. Severe periodontitis has also triggered other complications such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
As soon as you recognize signs of periodontal disease, it’s crucial to see your dentist. Even if you’re not entirely sure that you have it, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As you wait for your appointment, keep up with your oral hygiene and do your best to reduce bacteria buildup on your teeth.
Treating Periodontal Disease with Texas Periodontal Associates
At Texas Periodontal Associates, we specialize in treating those with gum disease. We’ll make you feel safe while we address any issues you have. There’s no such thing as a silly question in our office, so don’t be afraid to come to us with your concerns. We’ll do everything we can to help your stunning smile.
Schedule your appointment today by calling 713-457-6351 or filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you!