What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a result of plaque build-up and bacteria between the teeth and gums. If left untreated, the gums become infected. Additionally, as gum disease progresses the treatment becomes increasingly difficult and painful. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss.
Causes Of Gum Disease
After eating, plaque buildup occurs and if patients do not remove the plaque properly it can irritate the gums. In addition to eating, patients may also have gum disease from:
- Drugs and medication
- Hormonal changes
- Auto-immune disorders
- Poor nutrition
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Depending on the progression of the disease, symptoms of gum disease may include:
- Swollen and sore gums
- Red or inflamed gums
- Gums that bleed and recede from teeth
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain when chewing
Types Of Gum Disease
When left untreated, gum disease can progress into the following two stages:
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums may be swollen, red and inflamed and may bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be easily treated by a thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque and follow-up care. Patients that maintain proper oral hygiene at home can keep gums healthy and reduce bacteria build-up.
If left untreated, gingivitis transitions into periodontitis which is a more serious stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums are extremely inflamed and start to pull away from the teeth. Then, bacteria will continue to grow and damage bone that supports the teeth. Teeth may begin to loosen and fall out due to the bone and ligament break down.
Gum Disease Treatment
Based on the severity and progression of the disease, Dr. Witkowski can determine which treatment option is best for you. Treatment options can include scaling and root planing, medication or surgery. Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root. Dr. Witkowski will smooth and clean the roots and remove the plaque and bacteria from the teeth. If the gum disease has progressed, we can prescribe antibiotics or antimicrobial medications to fight infection and reduce the size of the gum pockets. As the infection subsides, swelling and inflammation are reduced.
If other methods of treatment are ineffective, surgical options will be considered. Flap surgery can lift away gum tissue so that Dr. Witkowski can clean underneath. Gum or bone grafts can help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that may have been damaged or lost due to periodontitis. Additionally, a gum graft will protect the tooth root while maintaining the appearance of the smile. Another surgical option includes laser gum treatment. This noninvasive procedure uses lasers to reduce and seal gum pockets with little pain, no stitches, and no risk of infection or bleeding.
Prevention Of Periodontal Disease
Plaque is a common but preventable cause of gum disease with proper dental hygiene. The staff at Green Oak Dental recommend that patients work to improve their oral care. This means eating a healthy diet, flossing and brushing daily, and seeing Dr. Witkowski regularly for checkups. Additionally, patients who do not smoke will reduce their chances of developing periodontal disease. It is important to promptly schedule an appointment if you are experiencing the signs of gum disease to prevent more serious complications from occurring.
Schedule A Consultation
To learn more about gum disease treatment and prevention, contact Green Oak Dental today at 281-358-6330.