Periodontal disease affects many people in the United States. Symptoms of periodontal treatment can range from red or inflamed gums to tooth and bone loss. Whether gum disease is controlled or worsens, it all depends on how well a person cares for their teeth and gums.
What is Periodontal Disease?
There are two main gum diseases that fall under the periodontal disease umbrella:
GINGIVITIS: When bacteria collect around the teeth and gum tissue, the area becomes inflamed. The resulting condition is completely preventable and reversible with good oral hygiene and professional dental care. But if left untreated, it can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis.
CHRONIC PERIODONTITIS: Untreated gingivitis can progress to this more serious condition. In response to the inflammation, the body releases substances that break down the connective tissue of the gums and even the bone. This can lead to tooth and bone loss in the jaw. Chronic periodontitis is not reversible, but it can be stabilized with oral care and periodontal treatment such as scaling, root planning, and laser therapy or gum graft surgery and pocket reduction surgery. Regenerative procedures—such as bone and tissue grafts—and cosmetic procedures are options, too.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
There are several telltale signs of gum disease, but people don’t always know they have it, because they don’t experience pain. When they realize something is wrong, it has progressed to the advanced stages. Some common symptoms of periodontal disease, include:
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or inflamed gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Tender or bleeding gums
What are the Most Common Periodontal Treatments?
The goal of periodontal treatment is to get the infection under control. Periodontal Treatment type and the number of sessions varies depending on the severity of the disease. Regardless of the level of progression, good oral hygiene practices at home are essential during periodontal treatment. For the best outcome, you may need to change or stop a certain habit, like smoking.
Deep Cleaning: This involves root planing and scaling, a deep cleaning process that removes plaque build-up below the gum line. This method also smooths rough spots on teeth where bacteria accumulate. In some cases, this periodontal treatment is performed with a laser.
Medications: Root planing and scaling sometimes include medication. At times this combination is done instead of surgery if the gum disease has not progressed to periodontitis. Typically, medications used include oral antibiotics, antibiotic gels, and antimicrobial mouthwashes.
If you have severe gum disease your dentist may suggest oral surgery to help control the infection. Periodontal treatment that includes oral surgery involves the flap procedure, that helps remove tartar build-up from deep gum pockets, and bone and tissue grafts. Grafting helps regenerate lost jaw bone and tissue.
Preventive tips against periodontal diseases:
Brush Teeth Daily
Don’t use too much pressure while you brush and avoid firm bristles. These can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
Gently slide the floss between two teeth and move it up and down the sides of the teeth, making sure to dip below the gum line.
Ask your dentist if you should use a treatment rinse (available by prescription or over the counter—look for words like “antiseptic” on the bottle) to fight decay. Regular mouthwash will just freshen your breath.
Brush Your Tongue
Your tongue collects bacteria in the same way as your teeth. Be gentle—there’s no need to scrub.
See Your Dentist
In order to prevent or reverse gingivitis, get a professional dental cleaning every six months.