The gums, periodontal ligaments, and bones in your mouth serve as the foundation of your teeth. Keeping your mouth healthy and clean prevents the buildup of plaque and toxins. Good oral hygiene will also minimize your susceptibility to periodontitis, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
It is then vital to be informed of conditions that you may be at risk of and how you can prevent them.
Periodontitis and How It Develops
Periodontitis, also referred to as gum disease, is a common but preventable oral problem. It damages the gums and can cause tooth loss. This condition is known as a silent disease because it worsens over time but often doesn’t show symptoms until it’s at an advanced stage.
Periodontitis develops with the buildup of plaque on your teeth. If this sticky film of starch and bacteria is not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. Tartar is filled with bacteria and stays longer in the mouth. Brushing and flossing do not remove tartar; only dental cleaning performed by a professional can get rid of it.
With plaque and tartar on your teeth, you may develop the mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis. It is a condition characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the gingiva, the gum tissue at the base of teeth.
Without proper intervention and care, gingivitis will worsen into periodontitis, causing the development of a space between the gums and teeth called periodontal pockets. These pockets are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, the pockets can become deeper, leading to bone and tissue loss and tooth loss.
Besides plaque buildup due to poor oral hygiene, the following are risk factors of periodontitis:
- Hormonal changes
- Recreational drug use
- Obesity or malnutrition
- Medications that can cause dry mouth
- Other medical conditions like leukemia, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Brushing your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice a day and flossing daily promotes good oral health, preventing periodontitis from developing. Likewise, it’s also vital to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Even if you practice good oral hygiene, certain factors can still increase your risk of periodontitis. Symptoms are:
- Swollen or tender gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- New spaces between your teeth
- Receding gums
- Painful chewing
- Gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing
- Pus between the teeth and gums
Schedule an appointment with your dentist when you notice any of these symptoms. Immediate diagnosis and treatment will help prevent further damage and complications caused by this condition.
Treatments for Periodontitis
The goal of periodontitis treatment is to thoroughly clean the periodontal pockets to avoid damage to the surrounding bones.
If your periodontitis is not an advanced case, less invasive methods can help reverse it. These include the following:
- Deep Cleaning. Your dentist will remove the plaque by performing deep-cleaning methods known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is scraping off the tartar on the tooth and under your gums. Root planing is done to smooth root surfaces to prevent further tartar buildup.
- Taking oral or topical antibiotics may also be necessary to control the bacterial infection.
On the other hand, advanced periodontitis may need dental surgery. Some of the procedures are:
- Pocket Reduction Surgery. Also called flap surgery, this procedure is done by making tiny incisions in your gum to lift the tissue and perform deep cleaning more effectively. If there is bone damage, the underlying bone is recontoured before the tissue is sewn into place.
- Bone Grafts. This procedure is necessary when the bones around the root are destroyed. The graft may come from your bone or a donor; it can also be synthetic. The graft supports the damaged tooth and stimulates bone regrowth.
- Soft Tissue Grafts. This procedure reduces gum recession and covers exposed roots. The donor graft used to reinforce the damaged tissue is often taken from your palate.
- Guided Tissue Regeneration. This treatment supports bone regrowth by preventing unwanted tissue from going to the affected area. Your dentist may do this by placing a piece of biocompatible fabric between the tooth and the bone.
Periodontitis Treatment in Florida
Gums play a vital role in your oral and overall health. They hold and support our teeth and thus need proper care. Good oral hygiene keeps them healthy and lessens the risk of periodontitis and its complications. Additionally, regular dental visits for cleaning is also essential to prevent the condition.
Dr. Belkis C. Del Puerto of Smiles at Doral specializes in general, restorative, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. She aims to provide utmost care to help our patients deal with their oral health problems like periodontitis.
Our friendly staff in our clinic in Doral, Florida, looks forward to serving you. You may schedule your visit with us by calling (305) 597-2227 or using this secure online form. Let us help you keep your gums strong and healthy!