Periodontal disease is a common condition affecting the gums and bone supporting the teeth. This disease must be taken seriously to prevent permanent damage. This blog article Dr. Nugent will cover what periodontal disease is, how it develops, treatment, dangers of leaving it untreated, and how to prevent it.
What is Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease refers to infections and inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth, including the gums, cementum, and jaw bone. There are two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the early reversible stage where gums become inflamed and easily bleed due to bacterial plaque buildup. Periodontitis is when the infection extends deeper and the supporting bone and tissues begin to be permanently destroyed.
How Periodontal Disease Develops
Periodontal disease begins when dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, accumulates on the teeth and forms calculus or tartar over time. The calculus provides an ideal environment for more harmful bacteria to proliferate. These bacteria release toxins that inflame the gums and initiate tissue destruction. If left untreated, periodontal pockets form as the gums detach from the tooth. These deep pockets harbor more bacteria leading to bone and tooth loss.
Treatment: Scaling and Root Planing
The basic treatment for periodontal disease is scaling and root planing, sometimes termed a deep cleaning. This involves scraping or scaling the teeth to remove plaque, calculus, and bacteria from the root surfaces. The roots are then smoothed and polished. This deep cleaning procedure reduces inflammation and pockets, and stops disease progression. Multiple appointments are often needed to fully treat the entire mouth. Antibiotic therapy or surgery may be required in severe cases.
Dangers of Leaving Periodontal Disease Untreated
If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause loss of gums, bone, and teeth. As bone is destroyed, the teeth loosen and eventually fall out. Bacteria can also spread from the diseased gums into the bloodstream and cause other health issues like heart disease. Allowing periodontal disease to go untreated leads to worse consequences over time, so early detection is essential.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Preventing periodontal disease starts with good daily oral hygiene like brushing twice a day and flossing. Regular dental visits allow for early screening and treatment. Quitting smoking also greatly reduces risk as smoking worsens inflammation. Eating a balanced diet and reducing stress are other ways to promote gum health. With proper oral hygiene and professional dental care, periodontal disease can be prevented or kept under control.
Signs and Symptoms
Warning signs include red, tender, or bleeding gums that are easily irritated. Gums become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. Periodontal pockets and plaque/calculus buildup emerge. Teeth may become sensitive, loose, or shift. Persistent bad breath despite brushing may also indicate diseased gums. Do not ignore these symptoms. Call Dr. Nugent’s office at 713-941-8261 to schedule an appointment if you are concerned you may have periodontal disease.
Gum disease is preventable with proper prevention and treatment. But if left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other problems. Consult our Pasadena, Texas dental office at any sign of gum disease to intervene in time and preserve your oral health. We are located at 3421 Burke Rd, Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504.