Periodontal Disease: Unmasking the Silent Culprit to Regain Gum Health

Periodontal disease is the most common chronic disorder that has plagued humans for centuries. It is considered the leading cause of tooth loss if not treated on time. 

Specialists at dental care in Brookline offer a comprehensive approach to identifying periodontal diseases and treating them to improve your overall health and well-being.  

Periodontal disease- an overview 

Periodontal disease, popularly known as gum disease, refers to an infection of the tissues that surround and hold your teeth in place. Plaque and bacteria are the most common causative agents that lead to gum disease. 

There are two distinctive stages, namely:

  • Gingivitis: Involving swelling and reddening of the gum tissue, which is usually reversible if treated on time.
  • Periodontitis: Pulling away the gums from the teeth, followed by bone deterioration and tooth mobility.   

Periodontal disease- causes 

Bacteria is the most common etiological factor that, when left untreated, can lead to the formation of plaque that adheres to the tooth surfaces. This paves the way for increased bacterial infiltration that eventually hardens to form calculus. As the infection spreads, it can erode the gums and destroy the underlying jawbone. 

There are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of the development and progression of periodontal disease:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Pregnancy and menopause due to hormonal changes
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Medications such as immunosuppressants and those that reduce saliva production 
  • Certain autoimmune diseases like lupus
  • Heart or respiratory disease

Warning signs of periodontal disease 

Some of the common and obvious signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Tender, painful gums
  • Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
  • Pain when chewing 
  • Poor bite due to malocclusion 
  • Receding gums
  • Increased tooth sensitivity 
  • Loose teeth

Periodontal disease treatment explained 

Your dentist will recommend any one of the following treatment options depending on the severity of the disease. 

Treatment options include:

Non-surgical options: For mild to moderate cases

  • Professional dental cleaning 
    • Supragingival cleaning 
    • Deep subgingival scaling 
    • Root planing
  • Medications 
    • Antibiotic gels
    • Antimicrobial mouth rinse
    • Enzyme suppressants
  • Gingival pocket irrigation 

Surgical options: For moderate to severe cases 

  • Pocket elimination surgery
    •  A flap surgery to reduce the size of the gingival pocket between the gums and the teeth.
  • Tissue regeneration
    • A biocompatible layer or membrane is inserted into the affected area to promote regeneration of the tissues.
  • Gum grafting
    • Helps to reattach the lost gingival tissues on the exposed tooth surface
  • Bone grafting
    • Aids in bone regrowth using graft material.
  • Dental implants 
    • Replace lost teeth by mimicking the tooth roots to provide anchorage to permanent restorations like crowns and dentures.

Remember, it is essential to know the warning signs of periodontal disease to seek timely dental care to improve your oral health.

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