What is Periodontal Disease?

What is Periodontal Disease?

Despite the fact that periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America, few outside of the dental community know the term off-hand. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory gum disease that affects the hard and soft structures that support teeth. You may know the name for it’s early stage: Gingivitis. Symptoms include swollen, red gums due to inflammation which is a sign that your body is attempting to fight harmful bacteria. Gingivitis and more serious forms of periodontal disease can lead to irreversible gum damage. This is caused by plaque left along your gum line due to improper or insufficient brushing and flossing. The long term possible effects include tooth loss, heart disease and stroke.

Some warning signs that you may be suffering from the beginning stages or even advanced periodontal disease include: receding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, swollen or shiny gum tissue, bleeding gums when you floss and patches of redness on your gum line. Poor oral hygiene is the biggest risk factor but other conditions that may increase your odds of developing periodontitis include: age (over 65), tobacco use, diabetes, chronic dry mouth, hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause, etc), bruxism, poor diet high in sugary foods, wisdom teeth causing inflammation and Osteoporosis. You can’t control all of these risk factors, but you can focus on a healthier diet, quitting smoking and begin using an anti-microbial mouthwash.

The treatment of periodontal disease involves removing tartar and infectious material from periodontal pockets, smoothing the surface of the root to limit space for bacteria to grow, and helping the gums adhere to the root again to keep the food debris and bacteria out. This is accomplished by scaling and root planing. For more advanced cases of periodontal disease, surgical treatment may be required. Read more about the details of treatments periodontal disease here.

If you are suffering from periodontal disease, contact Dr. Norton and the staff at Lifetime Family Dental today to get treated before it becomes a more serious problem. 480-558-4331

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