Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, bacteria can cause tooth loss.
Bacteria are a common culprit of periodontal disease. Bacteria use sugars in the mouth as an energy source and, in return, produce acids that erode the enamel. Over time, the gums become irritated, inflamed, and bleed. Bacteria can also infect the gums and cause gingivitis.
As the disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets and damage the jawbone. Eventually, the jawbone can deteriorate and loosen the teeth.
What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
- Bad breath.
- Bad taste in the mouth.
- Red or swollen gums.
- Tender or bleeding gums.
- Pain while chewing.
- Loose teeth.
- Teeth sensitivity while having cold or hot food.
- Receded gums
- Change in the way teeth fit together when you bite.
When is gum disease serious?
Gum disease is a serious condition. It’s possible for patients to experience the severe consequences of gum disease, including tooth loss. But the disease isn’t always this severe. Depending on the extent of the disease, patients may need treatment for gum disease to restore their health.
If gum disease is caught early, it’s possible to reverse it. With professional treatment, patients can reverse gum disease. Not only can patients reverse the disease, but they can also restore their gum health.
Gum disease treatment methods fall into two general categories: nonsurgical and surgical treatments. For mild cases of gum disease, your dentist may recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as scaling and root planing. This treatment method involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, smoothing the root surfaces, and allowing the gums to heal. However, if the periodontal disease is severe, the doctor may recommend surgical methods.
- Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
Scaling and root planing removes plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. Root planing involves smoothing the root surface and removing any remaining bacteria. These two treatments eliminate the causes of periodontal disease.
- Surgical periodontal treatment methods
Surgical periodontal treatment methods may be necessary if nonsurgical treatment methods don’t have been able to completely correct your gum disease. Surgical treatments include:
- Pocket reduction surgery
- Bone grafting
- Gum recession treatment
- Gum graft
- Gum graft surgery
A healthy diet, proper brushing and flossing, and regular dental exams and cleanings can help reduce your chance of periodontal disease progression. During your dental exam, your dental hygienist will screen for gum disease, plaque buildup, and other oral health issues. Your dental hygienist will evaluate your risk of periodontal disease, as well as recommend steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (480) 838-8558 to have a consultation with Dr. Christopher Payne, and we will be happy to help.