About Periodontal Disease
Help for Periodontal Disease in Belmont, MA
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that can result in tooth loss if left untreated. This disease begins with inflammation and irritation of the gum tissues that surround and support the teeth. The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque, which cause an ongoing bacterial infection.
Eventually, the bacterial infection colonizes in the gum tissue and deep pockets form between the teeth and the gums. If allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone, promoting tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream. Because of this, periodontal disease should be taken very seriously.
Causes of Periodontal Diseases
There are a number of different causes of periodontal disease. Some of these include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Tobacco use
- Genetic predisposition
- Pregnancy and menopause
- Chronic stress and poor diet
- Diabetes and underlying medical issues
- Grinding teeth
Preventing periodontal disease is always preferable to treatment. Feel free to talk with us about what you can do at home to keep your gums healthy. You can also visit the oral hygiene aids page of this website for additional information.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Periodontal disease can have a number of different signs and symptoms that can alert you to its presence. Not all of them need to be present for the disease to exist. Symptoms may include:
- Unexplained bleeding
- Pain, redness, or swelling
- Longer-looking teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth/change in bite pattern
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we advise you to make an appointment for an evaluation. Our experienced dental team will be able to tell you more after they examine your mouth and gums. A diagnosis will be made based on the state of your oral health. If you have gum disease it will likely fall into one of the following stages:
- Gingivitis: This is the first stage of periodontal disease. Gums are red and irritated
- Periodontitis: Characterized by tartar buildup, gums begin to recede and continue to be irritated and inflamed. There may be some bone loss
- Advanced periodontitis: Teeth begin losing support from the gums and can become loose or fall out. Moderate to severe bone loss may be present
Treatment and Maintenance
The good news is that periodontal disease can be treated! The type of treatment you’ll receive depends on what stage of the disease you have.
If caught early enough, improved oral hygiene and one to two professional dental cleanings may be enough to reverse the damage.
More involved cases may require something called scaling and root planing. This procedure is an in-depth cleaning that removes tartar, plaque, and toxins. Several treatments may be needed to complete the process.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, you should have regular cleanings several times a year to help maintain your oral health and prevent tartar and plaque buildup from taking hold again. We’ll work with you on a schedule that makes sense for your unique situation.