What Is Periodontal Disease?
As Periodontists, we here at Dr. Xixi Wu specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontal disease, specifically periodontitis, affects roughly half of Americans over the age of 30. Periodontitis is the most advanced stage of gum disease, and the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
We believe patient education is the cornerstone of maintaining excellent oral health, including the prevention of periodontal disease. Knowing the causes, signs, and symptoms of periodontal disease can help you stop any minor issues from progressing into major complications. The following information is designed to help you and your family better understand the tenets of periodontal health!
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Simply put, the cause of periodontal disease is bacteria. This bacteria is found in plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) deposits that form on the teeth due to poor oral hygiene. The buildup of these deposits can trigger a negative response from your immune system.
In other words, your immune system produces toxins designed to kill off the bacteria in plaque and tartar. Eventually, these toxins also target healthy periodontal tissues, resulting in an infection. This infection is commonly referred to as gum disease.
Gum disease is categorized into two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. The first and most common form is gingivitis, which can later develop into periodontitis if you fail to address the infection.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The most common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
|Inflamed or swollen gum tissue
|Gums that appear bright red, dark red, or purple
|Gums that are tender or painful
|Persistent bad breath, or halitosis
|Gums that bleed easily during brushing and flossing
|The beginnings of gum recession, during which the tissue retracts from the tooth
Along with everything listed above, the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis include:
|A persistent foul taste in your mouth
|A significant buildup of plaque and tartar
|Significant and seemingly inexplicable pain when chewing
|Severe gum recession, leaving the roots of the tooth exposed
|Deep periodontal pockets, or large spaces between the tooth root and gum tissue
|Pus between your teeth and gums
|A change in your bite, resulting in a malocclusion or misaligned bite
|Significantly loose teeth
|Tooth loss or extraction
Fortunately, gingivitis is easy to treat and reverse with improvements to your oral hygiene regimen and routine checkups and cleanings. Periodontitis, on the other hand, may require a variety of treatments, depending on the severity of your infection. The most common treatment involves a procedure known as a scaling and root planing.
During a scaling and root planing, we use an ultrasonic scaler to completely eliminate plaque and tartar deposits from the surface of your teeth. The scaler also kills off any remaining bacteria. Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, your symptoms should dissipate, ultimately resulting in healthy pink gums.
While it seems counterintuitive, we may suggest a tooth extraction if you have advanced periodontal disease. An extraction allows us to stifle the spread of infection and save the surrounding areas from further damage.
Patients with severe gum recession may also benefit from gum grafting. During this procedure, Dr. Wu takes healthy soft tissue from another area of your mouth and attaches it to the receded gums. Gum grafts help foster the growth of healthy new periodontal tissue, which protects the roots of your teeth.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today!
If you have recently been diagnosed with periodontal disease, professional treatment can help get your oral health back on track! Call (972) 669-9444 to schedule your initial consultation today!