Periodontitis, also called gum disease, is a serious dental health issue that affects millions of Americans, many of whom don’t even realize they have it. We see it frequently at our Raleigh general dentistry office, and many of our patients are stunned to know they have gum disease, and, if left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, including tooth loss. Fortunately, when it’s caught early, periodontitis treatment is relatively easy and can be reversed, restoring healthy gums and lowering your risk of health problems.
Understanding the Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is inflammation and infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth, including the gums and periodontal ligaments. There are two main gum disease stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a less severe form of gum disease and is quite common. Most often caused by plaque buildup due to poor dental hygiene and smoking, the bacteria in plaque causes gums to become inflamed. Diabetes, pregnancy, immune disease, and certain types of medication such as Dilantin, Procardia, and Adalat can increase the likelihood of developing gingivitis.
If left untreated, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, a more severe type of gum disease. This stage occurs when inflammation causes the gum to separate from the tooth, leading to debris collecting below the gum line. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to infection and cause the tooth to separate from the gum itself.
Periodontitis is found to be a cause of chronic inflammation in the body. Without proper treatment to stop the continuation of this disease, this chronic inflammation can lead to more than dental health issues; it has also been linked to heart disease and certain types of cancers.
Common Mild Gum Disease Symptoms
In the earliest gum disease stages, you may not realize there is a problem. However, if you are experiencing any of the following gum disease symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your Raleigh dentist as soon as possible.
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Shiny, red, or purplish-red gums
- Tender or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Sores in the mouth
Gingivitis can often be treated by visiting the dentist. A thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque reduces the buildup that causes inflammation, which causes the symptoms to disappear. Additionally, maintaining good dental hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash can prevent gingivitis from returning.
Severe Gum Disease Symptoms and Periodontitis Treatment
If your gum disease has gone untreated and progressed into periodontitis, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:
- Pockets along the gum line
- Recessed gums or gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
These symptoms need immediate care by a Raleigh dentist. Fortunately, periodontitis treatment to clean the areas below the gum can prevent further damage and lessen the symptoms you’re experiencing. Common treatments include:
Scaling removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your tooth and beneath the gums. This procedure is often done during routine teeth cleaning and is typically painless.
Root planing smoothes the surface of the root of the tooth to prevent and slow any tartar or plaque buildup, which prevents bacteria.
Removing infection is essential, and this is often done through antibiotic mouthwashes, oral antibiotics, or antibiotic gels.
Periodontitis Treatment in Raleigh
Gum disease affects up to 75 percent of American adults at some point in their lives, which sounds scary and unavoidable. However, when it’s caught early, it’s completely reversible with a good professional cleaning and continued good dental hygiene.