Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis -- also called periodontal disease or simply gum disease -- is a condition that gets worse over time and is the primary cause of tooth loss for adults in the Western world. This kind of disease happens when toxins in plaque start irritating or inflaming the gum tissue. The result is a bacterial infection called gingivitis that can ultimately lead to destruction of gum tissue and the bone underneath. When periodontitis is not treated, it can lead to the lose of one or more teeth.
There are several kinds of gum disease, including aggressive disease, chronic disease, necrotizing periodontitis and periodontitis that results from systemic disease. Each of these conditions has its own symptoms and characteristics, and all of them need prompt treatment by a dentist to stop the bone and tissue loss that can result.
Common Symptoms And Signs
It is very important to point out that gum disease can happen and get worse without any obvious symptoms and signs, including pain. This is why dental exams at regular intervals are so important. Below are described some of the most common symptoms and signs of periodontal disease.
If you notice any of the following situations, please get the advice of a dentist or periodontist right away:
- Bleeding without explanation: Bleeding that happens when eating, brushing or flossing isn’t normal and is among the most common signs of a gum infection. Toxins present in plaque cause infection by bacteria, and this makes tissues bleed.
- Redness, swelling or pain: An infection is very likely present if the gums are red, swollen or painful without an obvious cause. In this case, it is important to stop the progression of this infection before more tissue and the jaw bone are impacted. Also, the infection needs to be treated before it gets into the bloodstream and travels to other parts of the body.
- Teeth that look long: Gums recede as periodontal disease progresses, and this can cause teeth to look longer than they once did. Toxins from plaque make bacteria that destroy supporting bones and tissue, making a smile appear toothy as teeth appear longer than before.
- Halitosis or bad breath: Breath odor can come from the back of the tongue, the stomach or the lungs or even from food or tobacco use, but it can also come from old food particles that are trapped between teeth and under the gum line. Deep pockets obviously harbor more debris that shallow ones, causing a foul odor.
- Change in bite pattern or loose teeth: Loosening or shifting of teeth in an affected area is a very likely sign of progressing periodontitis. As bone tissue is destroyed, teeth that were previously attached well lose their connection to the jawbone and get loose or shift.
- Pus: Oozing of pus from between teeth is sure sign of periodontal infection that’s getting worse. Pus is the obvious result of the body’s efforts to fight off bacterial infection.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
It is essential to stop the progression of gum disease before the damage it has caused to the gums and jawbone gets any worse. The dentist or periodontist will start by examining the entire mouth to determine how far the disease has progressed. Once a proper diagnosis is made, the dental professional may choose to treat the infection with antibiotics and also take non-surgical or surgical action.
When moderate periodontal disease is present, the pockets between teeth and gums are cleared of debris using a scaling and root planing procedure. The pockets may be filled up with antibiotics to kill remaining bacteria and promote healing.
The most severe cases of periodontitis can be treated using the following methods:
Laser treatment. Lasers are an effective ways to decrease the size of pockets between gums and teeth.
Bone and tissue grafting. When a large amount of gum tissue or bone has been destroyed, it may be possible for a periodontist to graft new tissue and insert a membrane that will stimulate growth.
Pocket elimination surgery. Flap surgery that directly reduces the size of gum pockets is an effective alternative the dentist may recommend.
If you are concerned about Periodontal Disease, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS