People often hear or read the words “periodontal disease” and have no idea what it means. Basically, it involves inflammation of the gums and other structures that support teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria in dental plaque and often begins as gingivitis.
People who have periodontal disease don’t usually experience any pain, unless the disease is so advanced that an abscess has formed. Adults are more likely to have periodontitis than children. And, if you smoke, you are 4-to-7 times more likely to get it.
Since there no pain associated with periodontal disease, the symptoms are very hard to detect. Periodontitis often goes unnoticed until a dental visit where I may find:
- Reddened, swollen or bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose Teeth
- Bad breath
Fortunately, treating periodontal disease is straightforward. But, as with any condition, treating it depends on how severe the condition is.
Mild to moderate periodontitis is usually treated with a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and calculus that has accumulated on teeth. This, combined with good oral hygiene at home, often heals the problem without any further treatment.
Severe periodontitis likely will require antibiotics and, in some instances, surgical intervention - especially if an abscess is involved. Tooth loss is also a distinct possibility.
It’s important to note that the power of prevention starts with you. Daily brushing and flossing – twice a day – along with regular dental visits can help prevent periodontal disease and other oral health conditions. If you smoke, quitting will also reduce your risk significantly.
When’s the last time you were checked for periodontitis? Give us a call for an appointment.