Periodontal Disease: Causes and Treatments

If you have periodontal disease, you are not alone.  Many adults in the United States currently have some form of periodontal disease: an infection of the gums and soft tissues supporting your teeth.  It is caused by the build up of harmful bacteria on the surfaces of your teeth.  Plaque is a harmful by product of this bacteria.  If plaque is allowed to harden, it becomes a substance called “tartar” that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing.  Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Periodontal disease can range in severity from simple gum swelling and inflammation to serious disease that can cause major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth.  Failure to treat gum disease can lead to tooth loss.  In fact, periodontal disease is currently the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.

OK, now that we have your attention, how can you tell whether or not you have periodontal disease?  The common symptoms include red, swollen, painful gums that bleed easily.  Other signs include bad breath that won’t go away, painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth and receding gums or longer appearing teeth.

If you have these symptoms, it is vitally important for you to visit a dentist as soon as possible.  There are a number of treatments than can be used to arrest the progression of periodontal disease including deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), medications and even surgical treatments.  Your treatment plan will depend on the cause and severity of the disease.

People who smoke are at a greater risk for developing periodontal disease.  Women are also more at risk due to hormonal changes in the body that can accompany different stages in a women’s life including puberty, pregnancy and Menopause.  People with Diabetes, HIV, Cancer or other illnesses are also more at risk for developing gum disease.

If you think you may have periodontal disease, don’t risk your long-term dental health by failing to seek treatment.  Schedule an appointment with a qualified dentist in your local area today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Randy Muccioli, Muccioli Dental