Periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease, is a common concern for many adults. It severity can range from minor inflammation with a bit of discomfort to major damage to the soft tissue and bone that can even lead to the loss of teeth.
As we strive to maintain our overall health, our oral health should not be ignored. Being well informed is the first step to a healthy smile.
Causes and Risk Factors:
- Plaque buildup– Plaque that is not removed from the teeth with regular brushing and flossing can harden to tartar. Tartar can only be removed via professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
- Smoking- Smoking is one of the most substantial risk factors in the development of periodontal disease. Smoking also decreases the likelihood of successful treatment.
- Hormonal changes- For girls and women, hormonal changes in the body are natural and can’t be avoided. However, these changes can make the gums more sensitive and vulnerable to disease.
- Diabetes- Infections are more prevalent for people with diabetes, which includes increased risk of oral infections.
- Medications- A common side effect for many prescription and non-prescription drugs is the reduction of saliva. Saliva has a protective effect on the mouth. If the mouth lacks sufficient saliva for a length of time, your gums are more susceptible to disease.
- Genetic factors- Some people are naturally more prone to periodontal disease than others.
Your dentist will watch for signs of periodontal disease during your regular visits.
But if you think you are experiencing symptoms you may want to book an appointment for a consultation.
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen or red gums
- Gum tenderness and bleeding
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums (you may notice that your teeth look longer)
The primary objective in treatment is to control the infection. What treatment looks like will depend on each individual case and its severity. Your dentist will advise you on any additional measures to be taken and treatment options to be considered.
Some treatments may include:
- Deep cleaning. Deep cleaning removes plaque through a method of scaling and root planning. This goes beyond a regular cleaning. Tartar and rough spots on the root will be removed to prevent germs from gathering. In some more extreme cases, a laser may be used.
- Medications. Medication is sometimes used in conjunction with deep cleaning procedures to help control bacteria in the mouth.
- Surgical treatments. In more extreme cases surgery might be necessary. There are two commonly utilizes surgical treatments:
- Flap Surgery. The doctor lifts the gums back to remove tartar and then sutures them back in place.
- Bone and Tissue Grafts. A process of replacing degenerative bone or tissue allowing them to regenerate and grow more healthily.
How Can I Reduce my Risk of Developing Periodontal Disease?
Your dentist can advise you on your individual condition and general oral health. Barring any special suggestions he or she may have, your main defense against periodontal disease is maintaining good oral care:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste for brushing twice a day
- Floss daily
- Keep up regular dental appointments for professional cleaning and check-ups.
- Don’t smoke.
If you think you might have gum disease, please contact us right away! You may call (440) 354-0705 or click here to schedule an appointment.