Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis or gum disease, is a progressive condition that can result in tooth loss among adults in developed countries. It occurs when plaque toxins irritate and inflame the gum tissue, leading to a bacterial infection known as gingivitis. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the gum tissue and underlying bone, potentially resulting in loose teeth or tooth loss.

There are various types of periodontal disease, including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each type has distinct characteristics and symptoms. Prompt treatment by a dentist is necessary to prevent further loss of bone and tissue.

Overall, periodontal disease is a serious condition that requires attention and treatment to preserve oral health and prevent tooth loss.

Common Signs & Symptoms

Periodontal disease can progress silently without noticeable signs or pain, emphasizing the importance of regular dental checkups. However, there are common signs and symptoms associated with periodontitis that should prompt seeking dental advice:

  1. Unexplained bleeding: Bleeding during brushing, flossing, or eating is a common symptom of a periodontal infection caused by bacterial toxins.

  2. Pain, redness, or swelling: Swollen, red, or painful gums without an apparent cause may indicate a periodontal infection. Early treatment is crucial to prevent further damage to the gum tissue and jawbone and to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

  3. Longer-looking teeth: Periodontal disease can cause gum recession, leading to exposed tooth roots and a "toothy" appearance due to the destruction of supporting tissues and bone.

  4. Bad breath (halitosis): Persistent bad breath can result from food particles and bacteria trapped between teeth and beneath the gumline, exacerbated by deeper gum pockets associated with periodontal disease.

  5. Loose teeth or changes in bite: Rapidly progressing periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or shift as the supporting bone tissue is destroyed, affecting the stability and alignment of the teeth.

  6. Pus: The presence of pus oozing between teeth indicates an active periodontal infection, as it represents the body's response to combat bacterial infection.

If any of these signs or symptoms are experienced, seeking the advice of a general dentist or periodontist is recommended as soon as possible to address the periodontal infection and prevent further complications.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Halting the progression of periodontal disease is crucial to prevent further damage to the gums and jawbone. The dentist will evaluate the condition of the entire mouth to determine the extent of the disease. Once a diagnosis is made, the dentist may employ a combination of antibiotics, nonsurgical treatments, and surgical interventions.

For moderate periodontal disease, a procedure called scaling and root planing is performed to thoroughly remove debris from the pockets below the gumline. Antibiotics may be applied to promote healing and eliminate remaining bacteria.

Severe periodontitis can be treated in various ways, including:

  1. Laser treatment: Using lasers to reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums.

  2. Tissue and bone grafting: When significant bone or gum tissue loss has occurred, the dentist may graft new tissue by inserting a membrane to stimulate tissue growth.

  3. Pocket elimination surgery: Also known as flap surgery, this procedure involves reducing the size of gum pockets directly to facilitate better oral health.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity and progression of the disease, and the dentist or periodontist will determine the most suitable course of action. Regular follow-up visits and maintenance care are essential to manage and control periodontal disease effectively.

If you have any further questions about the signs and symms of periodontal disease, please contact us!

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