What are the signs of Periodontal Disease

What Are the Signs of Periodontal Disease?

When most people think of the dentist, they probably think about teeth, cavities, and braves. But dentists also help maintain a very important part of our mouth – the gums. The gums are the foundation for our teeth. This is why treating and preventing gum disease – aka periodontal disease – is so critical.

What Are Gums (Gingiva)?

The gums are a very important part of our mouth. More formally called “gingiva,” gums are the pinkish tissue that sits under the teeth and helps hold the teeth in the mouth. Gingiva – gums – are technically a type of mucosal tissue. Without healthy gums, your teeth won’t be secure in their sockets and would be prone to falling out.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums. It occurs when bacteria start to colonize the spaces between the gums and the teeth. This bad bacteria can cause inflammation in the gums, which is bad in and of itself. Even worse, excess bacteria can actually eat away at the gum and tooth tissue. The bacteria can also dig down into the bone and cause bone loss (furcation).

This infection of bacteria is called periodontal disease. As it progresses, you’ll notice signs of problems such as recession of gums, bleeding, and even bad breath.

As periodontal disease progresses, you can get loose teeth, which can be caused by the bone loss due to bacterial overgrowth. At its worst, periodontitis can result in lost teeth when the bone loss gets really bad.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Many factors can cause or aggravate periodontal disease aka gum disease. In part, some people are just more prone to it due to genetics. But periodontal disease is much more likely to happen with poor dental hygiene. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on the teeth at the gumline. This can harden and turn into dental calculus aka tartar.

This tartar provides an ideal surface for more plaque to develop and thrive. What does this have to do with periodontal disease? Well, bacteria live in plaque. It’s the acids secreted by bacteria that destroy tooth enamel and irritate the gums.

What Is Gingivitis?

Periodontal disease doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years of bacterial overgrowth before it becomes really bad. But it usually starts with some gum inflammation, called “gingivitis.” (Remember, gums are also called “gingiva” and “itis” means “inflammation of.”)

Gingivitis is basically the early sign of periodontal disease. As it progresses, gingivitis becomes full-blown periodontitis or periodontal disease. The earlier you start treating this, the better. Thus, if you can catch gingivitis before it gets worse, this is ideal.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

There are many signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. In many ways, this is good news. Gum disease is not a silent disease that you can’t see and just sneaks up on you out of nowhere. It comes with very obvious signs and symptoms that most people can recognize.

One of the most common and obvious signs of gingivitis or periodontitis is bleeding gums. If you notice bleeding when brushing or flossing, you most likely have gingivitis if not periodontitis.

Another sign that you may have gum disease is tenderness of the gums. Do they feel sore and irritable?

You might also notice tooth sensitivity that was not there before.

Another very obvious sign of periodontal disease is loose teeth. It’s one thing to be a kid in first grade with a wobbly tooth as baby teeth fall out to be replaced by adult teeth. But for adults, wobbly teeth are never normal. If you feel a tooth is loose, you need to visit Care Dental Center in Carson right away for an evaluation – you don’t want to lose your normal teeth if you don’t need to!

So we’ve covered some of the most obvious signs and symptoms of gum disease: bleeding gums, tenderness, soreness, or loose teeth. But there are other signs that may not be so obvious.

For example, how your breath smells is also a possible indicator of gum health. Bad breath (halitosis) that doesn’t seem to go away may also possibly be a sign of periodontal disease, but it can also be caused by other conditions. Chronic halitosis is not normal and should never be ignored. It is always a sign of some sort of underlying health condition, and since gum disease is so common, be sure to visit our Carson dental office to have your gums checked out.

You might also have a funny taste in your mouth that coincides with this bad breath.

Additionally, you may not notice yourself, because we often miss subtle changes in our body over time, but your gums may have started to recede. Your gums may also be redder than they should be or thinning out.

If you are also seeing yellow build-up on the bottom of your teeth near the gumline, this could be plaque that has turned into calculus aka tartar.

Why Is It Important to Treat Periodontal Disease?

Catching and treating periodontal disease as early as possible is important. There are a number of very good reasons for this dental advice.

First, in early stages, gingivitis and even some periodontitis can be reversed. But once periodontitis gets to the point where the tooth enamel is destroyed or bone loss has occurred, it cannot be reversed. At that point, we can only mitigate and try to stop future damage.

At its worst, periodontal disease can result in total tooth loss. In fact, if you think of an old person with false teeth or dentures, it is likely they lost their teeth due to periodontal disease.

But the effects of periodontal disease go beyond the mouth. At its core, periodontal disease is a bacterial infection. And that bacteria can sometimes leave the mouth and impact other areas of the body. In extreme cases, it can travel to the heart and cause heart inflammation (myocarditis). For this reason, you need to treat the infection as soon as possible.

How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?

The basic treatment for gum disease is a special type of deep cleaning called root scaling and planing. This is where the dental hygienist will use special tools and sometimes ultrasound to clean underneath the gum line and remove plaque and tartar buildup. Then, regular maintenance with deep cleaning is necessary. For severe cases, special surgeries such as gum grafting may be necessary. The good news is, once you treat periodontal disease, a lot of the damage can be stopped and repaired.

Do you live in Carson, California and think you might have periodontal disease (aka gum disease)? Care Dental Center can help. Our highly qualified dental staff can assess and treat all levels of periodontal disease, from the beginning stages of gingivitis to full-blown periodontal disease. Contact us today for an appointment.


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