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Periodontitis, also commonly referred to as periodontal disease or gum disease, is a severe infection of the gums. This infection damages the soft tissues in the gums and, without proper periodontitis treatment, it can destroy the jawbone or the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis can cause the teeth to loosen or result in the loss of natural teeth. However, when treated early and proper oral hygiene is used, the damage caused by gum disease can often be stopped. While relatively common, periodontitis is largely preventable.
This disease of the gums typically results from poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice each day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist in Gainesville for regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings can also reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Contact Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with our general dentists and team of dedicated dental specialists. We look forward to helping you reclaim your oral health!
Health gums without signs of disease appear pale pink in color and fit snugly around the teeth. However, diseased gums can appear swollen and red, feel tender and bleed easily, and cause pain or even cause the teeth to fall out of the mouth. Signs of periodontal disease can vary from patient to patient, however, the most common periodontitis symptoms include the following. Do you have periodontal disease? Contact Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry.
In the majority of cases, periodontitis causes start with the accumulation and build-up of plaque, a sticky film primarily containing bacteria, on and around the teeth and gums. If left untreated and unremoved, plaque can result in the development of periodontal disease as well as aggressive periodontitis and chronic periodontitis. Plaque forms on the teeth when sugars and starches in foods interact with the bacteria normally present in the mouth. If it remains, plaque can harden under the gum line and turn into tartar, or calculus. Tartar is more difficult to remove than plaque and it is brimming with bacteria. The longer that plaque remains on the teeth, the more damage it can do to the teeth and the gums.
If left in the mouth, plaque can cause gingivitis, which is the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis causes irritation and inflammation to occur in the part of the gum tissue located around the base of the teeth, or the gingiva. With professional treatment and proper oral hygiene practiced while at home, gingivitis can be reversed. Plaque accumulation often results in gum inflammation and irritation. Ongoing gum inflammation can cause periodontitis, eventually leading to the development of pockets between the teeth and the gums. These pockets can fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. With time, these pockets can deepen and continue to fill with bacteria. If left untreated, these deep infections can cause bone, tissue, and tooth loss.
There are multiple periodontitis stages. In the primary stages, plaque around the teeth hardens and begins to infiltrate below the gum line. In response, the gums recede from the teeth, forming pockets. In the next stage, the gums become inflamed and bleed easily. The bacteria then give off toxins that erode the tissue and the bone surrounding the tooth. Periodontitis starts with inflammation in the gums, known as gingivitis. Common signs of gingivitis include bleeding gums and tooth discoloration. In the early stages of periodontitis, the gums recede from the teeth and small pockets form between the gums and teeth, gradually filling with harmful bacteria.
When bacteria are present, the immune system attempts to fight it, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. With moderate periodontal disease, plaque is left to progress, possibly causing bleeding and pain around the teeth as well as gum recession. This stage of the disease can result in lost bone support and the teeth becoming loose. This infection can also result in an inflammatory response throughout the body. In advanced periodontal disease, the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place starts to deteriorate. The gums, bones, and other tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. Individuals with advanced periodontitis may experience severe pain while chewing, severe bad breath, and a bad taste in the mouth. At this stage, patients are likely to experience tooth loss.
Many people would be surprised to know that they can have perfectly healthy teeth and still lose them due to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease refers to infections of the structures around the teeth, such as the gums, periodontal ligament (PDL), and alveolar bone. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. In fact, a majority of adults are currently walking around with some form of periodontal disease but don’t know it. This is dangerous because, over time, severe periodontal disease can destroy the structures that hold teeth in place. See a dentist for general dentistry to make sure your teeth and gums are disease-free.
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, an infection caused when the gums become inflamed by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria that sticks to the surface of the teeth and feeds on bits of food, especially sugar. Plaque is one of the many reasons it is important to see our dentists in Gainesville, FL, for twice-annual teeth cleanings. If you have red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed easily, you may have gingivitis — a gum infection and early sign of periodontal disease.
Healthy individuals normally have hundreds of different types of bacteria in their mouths, and most of these bacteria are harmless. Without proper oral hygiene performed twice each day, however, these bacteria can grow and build up on the teeth. Periodontitis is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. Additionally, certain factors can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease and requiring periodontal therapy, including the following risk factors.
When gum disease is detected it is important to treat this active disease, left untreated the disease will progress. The first step of gum disease treatment for treating active gum disease is a deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing. In active gum disease, the tissue has detached and created deeper pockets that cannot be cleaned with a general cleaning or at-home care. Tarter and bacteria above and below the gum line must be properly removed to begin treatment, this can be uncomfortable due to the inflammation in the tissue. Most patients are numbed to have this type of cleaning performed and often these appointments are broken up to ensure complete cleaning and give your gums the best chance to begin to heal.
Following a deep cleaning, patients are scheduled for a follow-up appointment in 3 months’ time to determine the success of this deep cleaning, measure healing pocket depths, reiterate home care, and discuss further periodontal needs if present. Patients who have a history of periodontal disease but no active signs of disease (no deep pockets, tarter build-up) may not require deep cleaning and would move directly into our periodontal maintenance program to continue prevention. Periodontal disease can leave you with receding gums once treated. This can lead to further bone loss, abrasions of root surfaces, or unaesthetic smiles. Connective tissue grafting can correct these defects and create a more healthy and beautiful smile.
Periodontitis can be remediated if it is caught and treated early enough in its development. When performed early and by our Gainesville dentists, periodontal treatment is typically highly successful. If you have periodontitis, regular follow-up appointments with your dentist are critical to ensuring that the disease does not progress or worsen. It is likely that you will have to change your dental hygiene habits and cooperate fully with your dentist’s instructions in order to achieve a positive outcome. The long-term outlook of periodontal disease depends on your efforts with oral hygiene and the ongoing assessment and treatment of your dentist. The best way to get rid of periodontitis is to prevent it from occurring. Call our dental office to secure your gum health!