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Periodontal Disease

If you have been told by your dentist that you have periodontal (gum) disease, you're not alone. Many adults in the U.S. currently are suffering some form of the disease.

Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss, gums should never bleed
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Treatment

Infection control is the main goal of the treatment. Treatment depends on the extent of gum disease. Treatment also required to keep up with a good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors or lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.

Maintenance

It only takes twenty four hours for plaque in your teeth to turn into tartar! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation.

Once your treatment has been completed, your dentist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings, usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus will be removed from above and below the gum line.

Your appointment will usually include:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Examination of tooth decay: Check all tooth surfaces for decay.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed. (Electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health.