Periodontitis Diagnosis and Periodontal Treatment
Oral health is paramount in leading a healthy lifestyle. Given that the mouth is the first contact point of the things we consume, sustaining a healthy mouth impacts your overall health. Some of the diseases of the mouth can have dire consequences on your health. It is not just your teeth that can become problematic. Other parts of your mouth like the gums, cheeks, and bones can also get an infection.
What is Periodontitis?
It is an infection of the gum tissue. Technically, periodontal disease comes in two different stages. The first stage is called gingivitis. It is when the gum tissue has an infection but the symptoms are few. This being the initial stage of gum disease, many patients overlook the seriousness of the infection.
Without treatment, gingivitis advances to the next stage, which is called periodontitis. The symptoms of periodontitis are way more severe than those of gingivitis. For some patients, the advanced stage of gum disease causes loss of teeth, as well as bone tissue.
What Are the Indicators of Gum Disease?
Most victims of gum disease do not know about the infection until it has greatly advanced. The danger of this is that it can cause severe damage in the mouth, with some irreversible consequences. Besides, as the infection advances, the symptoms worsen. Some of the symptoms can even be mistaken for the presence of other diseases. It is why during our dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth during dental exams, to give the correct diagnosis. Sometimes, your dentist will even suggest oral cancer screening to be sure that there aren’t any abnormal cells indicative of oral cancer.
While visiting your dentist is the only way to be sure about the disease, here are some symptoms and signs that could indicate gum disease:
- Bleeding gums – the mouth is known to control its bleeding. If your gums are always bleeding, then there is a very high likelihood that they are infected. This can be experienced mostly when brushing teeth or biting into hard foods.
- Receded gums – upon infection, the gums tend to recede away from teeth. The more severe the infection is, the more the recession occurs. If part of the root of your teeth is showing, then you have allowed the infection to go on for too long. Watch out for the depth of the gum pockets which will reveal more about the infection.
- Wobbly teeth – periodontitis is an advanced level of infection that causes teeth to weaken from their roots. Since the gums play an important role in holding teeth in place, an infection can loosen up teeth, sometimes letting them fall off.
- Pain and discomfort – pain is always a sign that something is wrong. If your gums hurt when you chew or brush your teeth, you may have an infection.
- Swelling – inflammation is the body’s immune system responding to an infection in a part of the body. Swollen gums are one of the indicators of gum disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs due to different reasons. However, the most common reason is due to poor oral hygiene. If you are not deliberate about keeping your mouth clean, you encourage harmful bacteria to live in your mouth. When bacteria mix up with food residue and saliva, a sticky whitish substance forms on the surfaces of teeth. It is called plaque. Plaque builds-up on teeth, causing an infection on both teeth and gums. Other than that, other risks factors that could lead to gum disease include:
- Tobaccos usage – smoking, sniffing and chewing
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Genetics – if other people in your family have the disease
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
The treatment for gingivitis mostly includes lifestyle changes, as well as some pain-relieving medication. This includes:
- Quit smoking
- Avoid excessive alcohol
- Brush your teeth at least twice every day
- Floss regularly
- Use a soft toothbrush to avoid hurting your gums
Other than that, periodontitis is treated with other intense dental procedures, including the following:
- Gum grafting – the procedure involves replacing the gum tissue that has been lost following the infection.
- Scaling – involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the surfaces of teeth.
- Canine impaction treatment – the affected tooth/teeth are surgically exposed to manage them, following the complications of receded gums and lost bone tissue.