Periodontal Disease and Treatment
What Are the Signs of Periodontal Disease?
The most common sign of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. The earliest sign of gingivitis is bleeding when you brush your teeth.
Please note that gingivitis does not always – or even usually – lead to gum disease. In its early stages, there is no permanent damage to the gums or underlying jawbone. The condition only advances to periodontitis when it goes untreated.
Periodontal disease begins with gum tissue pulling away from the jawbone and teeth. This creates pockets that attract bacteria. As the bacteria build up, bone and other tissues begin breaking down. The pockets keep getting bigger, the bacteria keeps building up, and the disease continues in a relentless cycle.
Eventually, these growing pockets cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
What Causes Periodontitis?
While the main cause of gum disease is the plaque buildup that leads to gingivitis, there are other risk factors. These include:
Gum Disease Treatment and Diagnosis
During your routine exam, the dentist looks for the most common signs of gingivitis and periodontitis. This includes:
The dentist should ask you if you’ve noticed bleeding when you brush, or if your gums feel tender.
The goal of treatment is to stop disease progression, reduce pocket size, and improve attachment of gums to teeth. Treatment varies depending on how advanced the condition is. If possible, conservative (i.e. non-surgical) treatment is attempted first. The most conservative option is cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup. However, advanced gum disease may require surgical intervention.
You can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. If you already have gingivitis, schedule a professional cleaning with Dr. Brannon and follow his instructions for proper care.