The human mouth has a lot of bacteria. The bacteria can form a sticky, colorless film on the teeth called plaque. Over time, the plaque can harden and form tartar that cannot be removed by simple brushing. Plaque and tartar that remain on the teeth could cause gum or periodontal disease. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
This is the earliest and mildest form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis causes red and swollen gums that bleed easily. If you have this condition, you will notice traces of blood in your mouth when you brush your teeth. This gum disease often results from inadequate oral hygiene. Thankfully, however, it is reversible and treatable. If you live in the Beehive State, your periodontist in Utah can perform treatment procedures to mitigate the disease and also help you adopt optimal oral hygiene practices to prevent future problems.
Smoking, diabetes, inadequate nutrition, aging, stress, and genetic predisposition all contribute to gum disease. Diabetics have a higher risk of gingivitis because of elevated blood sugar levels.
When untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. With periodontitis, the plaque spreads below the gum line. Bacteria in the teeth produce toxins that could irritate the gums. The toxins also cause an inflammatory response with the body turning against itself, resulting in the destruction of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. At this stage, the gums will start separating from the teeth, causing pockets to form between the teeth and the gums. As periodontitis progresses, the pockets will become deeper, and more bone and tissue will be destroyed. Eventually, the teeth will loosen and may require extraction.
Common symptoms of periodontal diseases may not be noticeable in the early stages. They may only become apparent when the disease is already in advanced stages. The symptoms of periodontal disease include the following:
- Red or swollen gums with the tendency to bleed
- Painful chewing
- Loose and sensitive teeth
- Persistent bad breath
The main goal of treatment is the control of infection. The treatment options will be dependent on the extent or severity of the disease. Some of the therapies for periodontal disease include:
- Deep cleaning or the scaling and root planing method. In scaling, tartar is removed from above and below the gum line. Root planing eliminates the rough spots where the germs gather.
- Medication may be used to fight off infection.
- Surgery may be used in removing tartar deposits in the deep pockets.
- Bone and tissue grafts may replace or encourage the growth of new bones or tissues destroyed by the disease.
Consult your periodontist if you suspect gum disease. Early intervention is always more effective than late-term remediation.