Everything You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease

Everything You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease

Mar 01, 2023

Do your gums bleed when brushing or flossing? Chances are that you have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Recent research shows that about 47% of adults in the U.S. have mild, moderate, or severe gum disease. The rate is even higher, at 70%, in adults over 65.

Fortunately, routine dental checkups can help diagnose and treat gum disease on time before it causes serious and long-term damage. Keep reading to learn about periodontal disease and how to avoid or treat it.

What is periodontal disease, and how does it form?

Periodontal or gum disease is the inflammation or infection of the soft tissues that support the teeth. In the early stages, it’s called gingivitis. Gingivitis is characterized by mild symptoms like swollen, sore, sensitive, or bleeding gums.

The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed when diagnosed and treated on time. If not, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis – an advanced stage of gum disease characterized by severe symptoms like receding gums, loose teeth, bone loss, and even tooth loss.

What causes periodontal disease?

Bacteria and poor oral hygiene are the key contributors to periodontal disease. When you don’t brush or floss properly, the already existing bacteria in the mouth thrive and mix with saliva and other debris to form a thin film of bacteria called plaque. If left to stay on teeth long enough, more plaque accumulates on the teeth and around the gum line and hardens to tartar, also called calculus, which you can’t remove with regular brushing and flossing.

If not eliminated, these deposits gradually release harmful acids that erode teeth and irritate the gum tissues, leading to tooth decay and gum infection. Without prompt treatment, the bacteria infection can also spread to the alveolar bone, leading to tooth loss and other complications.

Who is at a greater risk of periodontal disease?

Generally, anyone can get gum disease. However, you may have a higher risk of periodontal disease if you:

  • Smoke or use tobacco products
  • Have underlying health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and HIV and AIDs
  • Have poor dental hygiene habits
  • Have overcrowded or misaligned teeth
  • Have dental restorations like dental bridges and dentures
  • Have loose or poorly fitting dental prostheses
  • Experience female hormonal changes like pregnancy
  • Avoid routine dental checkups and cleanings
  • Have a history of gum disease
  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Experience chronic stress
  • Have medication that causes a dry mouth

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Gum disease often progresses gradually. In the early stages, it shows little to no visible signs. Fortunately, your dentist can easily recognize these early symptoms though during routine checkups. Contact our periodontists near you if you have the following symptoms:

  • Sore, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Loose or falling teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or halitosis
  • Teeth sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugar
  • Receding gums – gums pulling away from teeth
  • A change in bite or how your teeth fit
  • Changes in the fit or dentures and other restorations
  • Discolored teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Persistent tooth pain
  • Pain when biting down

How to prevent periodontal disease

Fortunately, there are specific steps you can take to prevent or reduce your risk of periodontal disease. These include:

  • Brush gently twice daily for two minutes at a time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Avoid vigorous brushing and abrasive dental products.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use mouthwash daily.
  • Schedule routine dental cleanings and checkups.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Limit sugary and hard items.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol abuse.

How is periodontal disease treated?

If you have gum disease, your treatment will depend on how much damage the infection has caused. Mild to moderate gum disease can be treated with non-surgical treatments like:

  • Excellent oral hygiene practices
  • Routine professional cleanings
  • Deep cleaning or scaling and root planing. It involves removing plaque and tartar on teeth and from deep gum pockets.
  • Antibiotics in the form of mouthwash, gel, or oral pills

If non-surgical treatment has proven inefficient or the infection has caused significant damage to the gums and bone, our periodontists in Quincy, MA, can perform various surgeries, including:

  • Flap surgery
  • Bone and gum graft
  • Crown lengthening
  • Laser gum surgery

Are you looking for comprehensive periodontics in Quincy, MA?

For more information about periodontal disease and treatments, contact Quincy Dental Associates.

Our dental practice welcomes new patients of all ages from Quincy, MA, and the surrounding areas of:

  • Braintree |
  • Milton |
  • Wollaston |
  • Weymouth

Our family dentistry in Quincy, MA also welcome patients from the below given nearby areas:-

617-773-2490 Schedule Now
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