Periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial infection that can spread around the root of the teeth. The condition can cause tooth bone reduction and if left untreated can damage your teeth and cause tooth loss. Since it involves harm to the gums and the supporting bone structure beneath them, it is recommended to get treatment in its earliest stages. Research points to possible health effects of periodontal disease that go beyond your mouth and affects every sites and functions of a body.
Dental plaque, pale-yellow biofilm develops on teeth as a result of accumulation of bacteria that try to attach themselves to the tooth’s smooth surface. While brushing teeth should be able to get rid of plaque, it usually builds up naturally within a day or so, and over time, hardens into tartar which is much harder to remove. Cleaning the surface requires a professional help. The plaque then progressively damage teeth and surrounding tissue, causing gingivitis. This can further lead to the formation of pockets filled up with bacteria between the teeth and gums. The bacterial toxins thus become hazardous and our immune system destroys the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth together and in place. This leads to teeth becoming loose and eventually can fall out.
Healthy gums are pale pink and firm and with Periodontal Disease, you can note some of the changes, including:
- Bright red, purplish, or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Bad taste in mouth
- New spaces between teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
You may also notice a change in the way your teeth fit together when biting.
Depending on the severity and the extent of the gum disease, both non-surgical and surgical treatments are available in order to control the infection.
Scaling: Involves the removal of tartar and bacteria from teeth and beneath the gum line, through a deep cleaning method.
Root planing: Involves smoothing the root surfaces to block further buildup of tartar and bacterial toxins that contribute to the disease.
Medications: Include topical antibiotics such as mouth rinses and gels in order to control bacteria and shrink periodontal pockets.
Flap surgery: Also called pocket reduction surgery, the procedure involves lifting back gum tissue and exposing the roots for an effective scaling and root planing treatment.
Soft tissue grafts: Tissue from the roof of the mouth is relocated to the gum line in order to prevent further gum loss. The treatment also ensures covering of exposed roots and improved appearance.
Bone grafting: Performed when the bone has been destroyed to prevent tooth loss by holding it in place and promote bone regrowth.
Guided tissue regeneration: Biocompatible fabric is placed between the bone and tooth to prevent unwanted tissue from growing and allowing bone regrowth.
Enamel matrix derivative: Involves the application of gel to a diseases root to stimulate healthy one and tissue growth.
The above mentioned treatment will only bring results if the patient keeps up with daily oral care at home. Also modifying certain behaviors, like quitting tobacco and smoking can improve the treatment outcome.