What is Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease Bixby Knolls, CA

Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease. It is an infection of the gums or bones that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is incredibly common, affecting more than 50% of American adults. At Dentist of Bixby Knolls, we are here to help you navigate through the symptoms and treatment of periodontal disease to help you have a healthy smile.

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What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

There are many symptoms that are a sign you may have periodontal disease. The most common symptoms are gum soreness and bleeding after brushing or flossing. Visual symptoms include gums receding from teeth making them look longer, red or swollen gums, or a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite. Other warning signs include bad breath, a recurring bad taste in the mouth, painful chewing, and sensitive or loose teeth. Periodontal disease is categorized as mild, moderate, and severe. The intensity, frequency and number of symptoms can be indicative of the severity of the disease.

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What are the Causes of
Periodontal Disease?

When bacteria inside the mouth infect the soft tissue surrounding teeth it causes inflammation and leads to periodontal disease. The bacteria on teeth creates plaque and when plaque is left on teeth it can harden to produce a tough substance called tartar. Once tartar forms on teeth it can no longer be removed by brushing and flossing and needs to be cleaned by a professional dental cleaning.

When plaque and tartar build up accumulates it affects gums and makes them sensitive and inflamed. This is the beginning of periodontal disease, called gingivitis. At this early mild stage, the disease is completely treatable and reversible, leaving no long-term issues for the gums or teeth.

Further progression of the disease includes gums receding from teeth creating larger pockets around the base of the tooth. These pockets easily become filled with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. This is the moderate form of periodontal disease. Once the disease continues to progress to the severe stage it creates larger pockets around teeth and eventually infects deeper gum tissues and even the bone below.

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How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

Your dentist is the best person to diagnose periodontal disease. At a dental appointment your dentist will examine your gums to look for signs of inflammation or swelling. Your dentist may also use a small ruler, called a probe, to check and measure the pockets where your teeth fit into gums. Your dentist may also ask about your medical history and risk factors for gum disease.

What are Risk Factors for
Periodontal Disease?

Certain factors can increase your risk of periodontal disease. These factors include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Recreational drug use
  • Hormonal changes, including pregnancy and menopause
  • Poor nutrition
  • Heredity
  • Medications that cause dry mouth
  • Diseases or conditions that cause decreased immunity
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What is the Treatment for Periodontal Disease?

Early-stage periodontal disease and gingivitis can be treated with good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings. More severe forms of the disease will require intervention and treatment from your dentist. Treatments may include deep cleaning of the tooth surface below the gums, medications prescribed to control the gum infection, and possibly corrective surgery known as a gum graft. Your Dentist of Bixby Knolls team can decide which treatments are best for you.

How Can Periodontal Disease be Prevented?

Good oral hygiene habits are the best way to prevent periodontal disease. Effectively removing bacteria from teeth by brushing twice each day and flossing prevents the buildup of tartar and plaque. Regular dental visits every six months allow for complete cleaning of teeth and gives your dentist an opportunity to identify any signs of inflammation or infection early and begin treatment right away.

It is also important to avoid potential risk factors like smoking that make gum disease more likely.

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What Happens if Periodontal Disease is Not Treated?

If left untreated, gum disease will worsen over time. The receding of gums can lead to loose teeth that must eventually be removed completely. Teeth may also need to be removed if they become infected from the gums.

Periodontal disease can have effects far beyond the mouth as well. If the infection becomes severe it can spread directly to the bloodstream increasing your risk of a stroke or heart attack. It can also spread to the respiratory system, increasing your risk of emphysema or lymphoma.

Periodontal disease is very common and can be treated by your Dentist of Bixby Knolls team. We are here to help you identify if you have periodontal disease and provide you with the best treatment options. Contact us today about your gum disease concerns because your dental health is important to us!

Don’t Wait! Get Healthy Gums Today!

Are you looking for treatment for periodontal disease in North Long Beach? Call us today at (562) 287-5175 for a consultation!