Periodontal Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections. This condition describes infected and inflamed gums caused by bacteria in your mouth. When bacteria builds up in the mouth, dental plaque forms. This plaque is directly related to poor gum health and periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease that causes the gums to become red, swollen and to bleed easily. There is usually little to no discomfort at this stage, but left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. This affects the bone that supports your teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss. Additionally, periodontal disease is linked to many health issues such as an increased risk in heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Normally, healthy gums fit around the teeth, feel firm and comfortable, and look light pink. Signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Red, irritated, or swollen gums
  • Pus around or between the teeth or gums
  • Bleeding and painful gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Receding or tender gums
  • Spaces forming between the teeth

How is it Treated?

There are a variety of different ways to treat periodontal disease. When the condition is still in its early stages, periodontal disease can be treated with nonsurgical procedures. Some of these nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning of the bacteria filled pockets)
  • Antibiotics

If the disease has advanced, surgical treatments may be necessary. Some surgical treatments for periodontal disease include:

  • Soft tissue grafts
  • Bone grafting
  • Flap surgery
  • Guided tissue regeneration

Periodontal Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss daily and observe how your teeth and gums look and feel. Regular visits to your dentist can ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and help prevent periodontal disease and other oral health issues.

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