Periodontal Therapy An Overview
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of Americans 30 or older have periodontitis.
Many patients who visit our Greenwood family dentistry near Indianapolis fall within a spectrum of periodontal disease, ranging from an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) to a chronic disease of the gums and bone (periodontitis). Gum disease can affect children and adult patients and is commonly caused by a lack of diligent oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and visiting our dentist in Greenwood biannually are essential for keeping your gums healthy.
Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease
It is common to experience little or no symptoms or obvious signs of gum disease until it has progressed and spread. As gum disease progresses, the gums become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. Patients often experience bleeding gums, shifting of teeth, or even tooth loss. For this reason, regular visits to the dentist are best for preventing and managing gum disease.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the fit of dentures
Periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease, is a leading dental and systemic health concern. Treating gum disease in the earliest stage (gingivitis) is ideal for preventing secondary health concerns from developing.
Gum Disease May Increase Risk Of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart Attacks
Gum disease can progress quickly and spread to the bloodstream, affecting the health of your entire being. Patients with advanced gum disease are more prone to a wide range of health conditions.
The Stages of Gum Disease
This is the first stage of gum disease and the only one that you can reverse. It comes from poor oral hygiene, usually alongside a sugary diet. Bacteria and food particles build up along the gumline, causing irritation and inflammation to the soft tissue. This filmy layer is called plaque. The longer it’s left go, the more harm it can cause. It eventually evolves into tartar, which is even harder to remove.
Many adults suffer from gingivitis because they don’t know the warning signs. None of them are painful in earlier stages, making it harder to notice. The main thing to watch out for is bleeding gums. If you notice this happening regularly when you brush your teeth, call your dentist. Diligent oral healthcare and antibiotic mouthwashes can help reverse gingivitis.
Mild Periodontal Disease
At this stage, gum disease can no longer be reversed. The bacteria become more aggressive and start attacking bone structure. Pockets of bacteria and debris form between the gum tissue and bone. Scaling and root planing manage the condition at this stage. We clean out the gum pockets that have formed and smooth down the tooth roots so that the tissue can reattach to the bone.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The bacteria continue to get more aggressive at this next stage. Instead of just attacking your bone, they attack your bloodstream as well. The infection and inflammation from gum disease can spread throughout the body, causing problems in other areas. Scaling and root planing are used to manage this stage as well.
Severe Periodontal Disease
The infection completely evolves into disease-causing bacteria in the final stage. Your gums ooze with pus, you have severely bad breath, and your teeth become loose. It hurts to bite into or chew any food. Only laser periodontal therapy and gum surgery can manage the condition at this point.