The Importance of Properly Diagnosing and Treating Periodontal Disease

When it comes to oral health, prevention is the best medicine. A good oral care routine that includes brushing, flossing, and regular exams can help to keep your smile bright for years to come. But even with good oral habits, periodontal disease can begin to surface over time. Catching it in the early stages with a thorough diagnosis and devising a treatment plan is the best way to limit its damage and get you back on track! So what is periodontal disease, and what are the treatment options available to stop it?

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease results from inflammation and infection of the bone and gums that support and surround the teeth. The early stage of periodontal disease is called “gingivitis.” Gingivitis can cause swelling, redness, and bleeding, and when it becomes advanced, it can lead to the gums pulling away from the teeth, bone loss, or even tooth loss. Most commonly, periodontal disease is an issue for adults (more than for children), and it is the number-one threat to good oral health. According to the CDC, nearly 50% of those aged 30 or over will experience some form of periodontal disease. That percentage increases to 70% of people older than 65.

What are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by infections of the mouth stemming from the growth of bacteria that leads to inflammation. When bacteria multiply unchecked for long periods, it causes a film over the teeth called plaque. That plaque can turn into tartar or calculus, which can spread underneath the gum line, making teeth more difficult to clean. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional; removal is necessary to stop the progression of the disease.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

The most common symptoms of periodontal disease are:

  • Swollen and red gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Bleeding or tender gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose or lost teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gums receding from the teeth
  • Changes in bite or the way your a patient’s teeth come together
  • Change in partial denture fit

What are the Risk Factors for Periodontal Diseases?

Although periodontal disease can have many causes, it is often linked to:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Heredity
  • Stress
  • Defective fillings
  • Stress
  • Immunodeficiency, such as AIDS
  • Medications that lead to mouth dryness
  • Improperly-fitting bridge
  • Hormonal changes in women, like pregnancy

How Do You Prevent and Treat Periodontal Disease?

Prevention is always the best course when it comes to the progression of periodontal disease. Once it starts, however, treatment may be more complex and extensive. Some forms of periodontal disease treatment are deep cleaning of the gums and root surfaces, medications underneath the gum line, and in some instances, corrective surgery.

Prevention for Periodontal Disease:

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day for bacteria removal
  • Regular check-ups and exams, with more frequency if you have risk factors or signs of disease

The treatment course for periodontal disease depends on its severity and how quickly it is diagnosed and treated. The longer you delay seeing a dentist, the worse it will become. Prevention and early diagnosis are key to limiting the consequences of periodontal disease and getting back on track. If you think you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact Dr. Cheung today to discuss your options. Our mission is to get you on the road to recovery!

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