According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal disease.
What is periodontal disease?
“Peri” means around, and “odontal” means teeth. So periodontal disease is a type of oral disease that affects the structure and tissues around the teeth. These include the gums, the cementum, the alveolar bone and the periodontal ligament.
Periodontal disease has two stages:
- The early (mild) stage is referred to as gingivitis. It involves the swelling and bleeding of gums.
- The late (more severe) stage is referred to as periodontitis. It involves damage to both soft and hard tissues supporting the teeth and often leads to teeth loss.
Okay, but how do you get the disease?
What causes periodontal disease?
You’ve different types of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria, along with mucus and food particles, form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on the surface of your teeth. Brushing helps get rid of plaque, but when you don’t brush your teeth, plaque hardens and forms tartar. The bad thing about tartar? It can’t be removed by regular brushing; you need a professional dental cleaning to remove it.
With tartar formed on your teeth, and you refusing to visit the dentist, the bacteria inside the tartar gradually turns up evil. It multiplies and grows. To get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release protein factors that inflame your gums. This leads to swollen gums, a sign of gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it advances to periodontitis. In periodontitis, your gums pull away from your teeth. The damage worsens. Your immune system becomes more aggressive and ends up self-destroying the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Eventually, you suffer from teeth loss.
Suspect that you might have periodontal disease?
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
The symptoms of periodontal disease are as follows:
- Bad breath
- Puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Sensitive gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
If you have any of these symptoms, consult a dentist for diagnosis and treatment.
What are the treatments available for periodontal disease?
The treatment varies depending at what stage the disease is. Gingivitis is much easier to treat than periodontitis. In fact, in most cases, periodontitis can’t be treated, and you may have to get the affected teeth removed to stop the damage from spreading further.
The treatment options for periodontal disease include:
- Deep cleaning
- Antibiotics administration
- Surgery (flap surgery and bone grafting)
As always, the best advice in case of periodontal disease is prevention. Maintain good oral health, eat healthy and regularly visit your dentist for check-ups and cleanings.
Bethesda Dentist is your friendly dental clinic in Bethesda, MD. We provide a range of dental services to our clients, including oral health consultation, teeth cleaning, teeth extraction, dental implant bone grafting, dentures installation and more. Contact us for any additional information.