Know the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Periodontitis
Periodontitis Causes and Symptoms
Periodontitis is a widespread condition that most people call gum disease. It can cause a wide range of issues, from bad breath to tooth loss. Prevention and awareness are effective in dealing with periodontitis in most cases, and various treatment options are available.
Periodontitis is caused by an excessive buildup of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are naturally occurring but harmful if allowed to exist unchecked. They’re the same bacteria responsible for tooth decay and are kept in check by brushing, flossing, and regular professional dental cleanings.
When bacteria stay on teeth for an extended period of time, soft plaque hardens into tartar. These hardened layers can spread below the gumline, where brushing and flossing can’t reach them, allowing them to continuously grow and produce harmful acid.
The earliest warning signs of periodontitis include persistent bad breath and red, swollen gums. Patients can experience bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and pain when chewing. As the condition advances, patients may begin to notice gum recession or loose teeth.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms or wondering, “Why are my gums bleeding?” should reach out to their dentist to see if periodontal therapy could be in order.
The Stages of Periodontitis
Gum disease progresses through several stages over time. When dentists can catch the disease early, patients have more treatment options and better prognoses. This is why patients should make sure to schedule regular dental checkups and reach out to their dentist about any questions or concerns.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. At this stage, bacteria causes inflammation of the gums, but deeper tissues aren’t affected. As the condition progresses to early periodontitis, receding gums create pockets where bacteria can grow in greater numbers.
In moderate periodontitis, secretions from bacteria can affect both the teeth and the supporting bone that holds teeth in place, wearing them away over time. As the condition progresses to advanced periodontitis, this can develop to the point of tooth loss and abscesses.
Periodontitis Treatment Options
Periodontal therapy provides many treatment options for dealing with gum disease at different stages. Prevention is often the best course of action, with regular dental cleanings being able to remove plaque and tartar before they become an issue. However, other interventions are necessary if gum disease has started to take hold.
1. Deep Cleanings
In principle, deep cleanings are similar to routine dental cleanings. However, they are more effective in dealing with plaque and tartar that have progressed below the gumline. The hygienist uses special scaling and planing instruments to remove harmful bacteria and stop gum disease from progressing.
The scaling step is the removal of tartar and bacteria using special instruments that can reach below the gumline where the bacteria have progressed.
Root planing helps prevent future issues by smoothing the surface of the tooth roots, making it more difficult for bacteria to take hold and cause problems in the future.
2. Laser Cleaning
New technologies are always developing, and the Biolase water laser is among the latest advancements in periodontitis treatment. This treatment uses a laser to remove plaque and tartar below the gumline, much like scaling. However, it provides a better patient experience.
With the Biolase water laser, patients receive comfortable treatment that reduces the normal swelling and mild discomfort that can follow scaling and root planing. This technique is also faster, meaning less time spent in the dental chair to achieve the same excellent results.
3. Advanced Treatment Options
As periodontitis progresses, it may require more advanced treatment options. While scaling, root planing, and laser cleaning can remove bacteria and prevent recurrence, they can’t reverse the harm already done by the disease.
The shape of the gumline can change due to periodontitis, which may require intervention to correct the appearance of a patient’s smile. Biolase water laser technology can also provide soft-tissue reshaping in some cases, while other patients may require gum graft surgery.
If a patient has damaged or missing teeth due to periodontitis, they will likely need replacements to maintain their long-term oral health. Crowns, dental implants, and other options can restore the appearance and function of a patient’s smile after the effects of periodontitis.
Getting the Treatment You Need for Periodontitis
At Sheppard Family Dental Care, we provide a wide range of treatment options for our patients. We can implement successful interventions at any stage of gum disease, whether you require preventive or restorative procedures.
If you’re concerned about gum disease, you can contact our office today to schedule an appointment and to find out more about your potential treatment options.