What Is Periodontal Disease?
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that impacts the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth. Caused by a buildup of bacteria that affects the tissues in your mouth, periodontal disease leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health reports that at least 47% of American adults have some form of periodontal disease.
‘What is periodontal disease?’ is a question that has more than one simple answer. This is because periodontal disease symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on how bad the infection is. The two main forms of periodontal disease are:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis, typically associated with early periodontal disease, is usually milder. A result of plaque buildup along the gumline that causes inflammation of the gums that is not generally accompanied by bone or tissue loss.
- Periodontitis: Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Peridontitis happens when the bacteria in the plaque buildup stimulates a chronic inflammatory response in the body. This response can lead to the destruction of the gum tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. Over time, the gums recede, forming pockets between the teeth and gums, which can become infected. Eventually, this infection can cause your teeth to become loose and may require extraction.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
As you continue to read about the answer to the question ‘What is periodontal disease?” you may wonder about periodontal disease symptoms and signs of early periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease symptoms are characterized by inflammation of the gums. Here are some common signs to watch out for:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums: During early periodontal disease, gums may appear red, puffy, or swollen. They may also be sensitive or tender to the touch.
- Bleeding gums: One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums, especially while brushing, flossing, or eating. You may notice blood on your toothbrush or in the sink after rinsing your mouth.
- Bad breath: Persistent bad breath, despite brushing or using mouth rinse may be a sign of early periodontal disease. The bacteria buildup on your mouth can release foul-smelling gasses, which can cause bad breath.
- Receding gums: As gum disease becomes more advanced, the gum tissues may start to recede and pull away from your teeth. This can create the appearance of longer teeth because of the exposed tooth surface.
- Pockets between teeth and gums: as the gums recede from the teeth, small spaces or pockets can begin to form. These pockets can become a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque, which can lead to infection.
- Changes in bite or tooth alignment: Another one of the most common periodontal disease symptoms is a change in the way your teeth come together when you bite. Shifting or missing teeth can affect your overall dental alignment and your ability to chew properly.
- Gum sensitivity: Periodontal disease can make your gums sensitive to temperature, making it painful to consume hot or cold foods and beverages.
- Pus or sores: In some cases of advanced gum disease, you may also notice the presence of pus between the teeth and gums that can develop into painful sores.
It’s important to remember that periodontal disease symptoms vary from person to person. Not all individuals will experience all the symptoms above. If you’re experiencing any early periodontal disease symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment to make an accurate diagnosis. Early detection and treatment are important to prevent further damage and decrease risk of associated illnesses.
Risks Associated with Periodontal Disease
Knowing what is periodontal disease and not seeking appropriate treatment can put you at increased risk for illness. If you’re struggling with gum disease, you may be at a higher risk of life-threatening conditions, including:
- Stroke: People with gum disease have 2-3x the risk of having a stroke (Harvard).
- Bone loss: Periodontal disease can cause rapid progression of bone loss in the jaw if left untreated. Bone loss may be permanent and can cause your facial features to change dramatically (Mayo Clinic).
- Heart disease: Periodontal disease can intensify existing heart conditions and can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease (The American Academy of Periodontology).
- Respiratory infection: Dental plaque buildup creates a dangerous source of bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs. Inhaling bacteria from the mouth and throat can lead to pneumonia (Annals of Periodontology).
- Cancer: Gum disease increase the relative risk of developing cancer by 24% (John Hopkins)
- Diabetes: 93% of people with gum disease are at risk for diabetes. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, putting people with diabetes at increased risk for diabetic complications (The American Academy of Periodontology).
- Other complications: Left untreated, gum disease may increase your risk of cardiovascular, kidney, pancreatic, and Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, preterm childbirth, and more.
As soon as you notice any periodontal disease symptoms, it is important to seek treatment to help reduce your risk of developing severe illness or life-threatening conditions.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
You may find yourself asking “What is periodontal disease treatment and what does it look like?” Treatment for periodontal disease often depends on the severity of the condition. Early periodontal disease can often be managed with improved oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleaning. In more advanced cases additional treatment may be necessary, including:
- Scaling and root planing: Deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums to help the gums heal and reattach to the tooth.
- Surgery: Removes tartar and plaque from harder-to-reach areas and makes it easier to keep your teeth clean.
- Grafting: Rebuilds or reshapes soft tissue and bone to help hold loose teeth in place and protect the tooth’s tooth from sensitivity and decay.
- Laser surgery: Minimally invasive surgery to treat and regenerate soft tissue and bone. Gently reduce bacteria and inflammation without incisions or stitches to create a clean environment for healing.
Although there are treatment and maintenance options for periodontal disease, prevention is key in managing gum disease. Periodontal disease symptoms can be managed by maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling routing dental check-ups to help prevent further gum disease that may damage your gums and tooth supporting structures.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Preventing gum disease involves practicing good oral hygiene, including:
- Brush your teeth regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Be sure to brush along the gumline to help remove plaque and bacteria.
- Floss daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gum line. It reaches areas that a toothbrush can’t reach effectively.
- Use mouthwash: Rise your mouth to reduce bacteria and plaque formation. Look for a mouthwash that is specifically designed to fight gum disease.
- Maintain a balanced diet: Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit sugar as it can contribute to plaque formation.
- Limit tobacco:Smoking and chewing tobacco can increase your risk of gum disease.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps flush away bacteria and keeps your mouth moist, reducing the risk of gum disease.
- Visit the dentist regularly: Schedule regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings. A dental professional can identify early periodontal disease.
Gum disease can be preventable with consistent oral care and healthy habits, but remember if you notice periodontal disease symptoms, like bleeding gums, bad breath, or gum sensitivity, seek treatment.
The Oral Systemic Link
Part of answering the questions “What is periodontal disease?” is understanding the oral systemic link. The oral systemic link is the connection between your oral and overall systemic health, particularly the impact that oral conditions and disease can have on the rest of your body. This link recognizes that the health of your mouth can influence various systemic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Conversely, certain systemic conditions may also affect your oral health. For instance, some medications can impact your oral health by increasing your body’s ability to fight infection.
The concept of the oral systemic link highlights the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care to promote good overall health. It emphasizes that oral health is interconnected with the well-being of your entire body.
Dental Implants and Gum Disease
ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers offers dental implants to replace teeth lost due to periodontal disease. Dental implants consist of an artificial tooth root, surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant provides a stable foundation for attaching the dental crown, which restores the appearance and function of missing teeth caused by gum disease.
While dental implants do not directly eliminate periodontal disease, they can help by:
- Stabilizing the jawbone: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, similar to natural tooth roots, helping to prevent further bone loss and maintaining the bone structure.
Replacing unhealthy teeth and tissue: If periodontal disease causes severe tooth damage, extraction may be necessary. Dental implants can be placed to restore missing teeth, thus eliminating the diseased tooth and tissue and helping to prevent further infection.
Choosing the Right Provider
We know that finding a provider to help provide answers to the question “What is periodontal disease?” isn’t easy. Your local ClearChoice center is led by a team of highly-specialized prosthodontists and oral & maxillofacial surgeons who have experience identifying and customizing dental treatment solutions. We’re committed to improving the lives of those suffering with failing teeth by providing the best care possible to transform your life in a positive, meaningful way.
- World-Class Patient Care – Individualized treatment plans developed for every patient, never a one-size-fits-all solution.
- Clinically Proven Method – Safe and reliable treatment process backed by 20+ years of research, including adequate healing time.
- Innovative Treatment Process – Centers equipped with advanced technology supporting a process that gives implant patients a better quality of life for years to come.
The way our multidisciplinary team of doctors and specialists work together ensures an excellent patient experience. From the way we keep each step of our treatment process in a single, innovative center, to the way we treat every unique case as just that, everything we do at ClearChoice revolves around you.
When it comes to your dental care, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about having the right technology and the right treatment to transform your smile – and your life.
Get Started Today
To learn more about periodontal disease and see how ClearChoice can help you find a customized solution to failing teeth, schedule a free consultation. During your free consultation, you’ll meet with a doctor to learn more about periodontal disease, discuss treatment options, and receive a customized treatment plan and all-inclusive cost.
Stop worrying about your teeth and start doing what makes you smile again. Find out how ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers can help you reach your dental goals.