Teeth are supported in the oral cavity with the help of the periodontium. It is the structural and functional group of tissues that help anchor the tooth firmly within the jawbone. Any damage or discrepancy in their structure can lead to an array of symptoms that can negatively impact your oral health.
Dexter dental clinic comprises a team of highly skilled dental specialists that provide a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options to maintain the integrity of your teeth and periodontium.
Understanding periodontal disease
Periodontal disease or gum disease is defined as any damage to the supporting structures of the tooth, namely the periodontium. It comprises the cementum, gingival, periodontal ligament (PDL), and the alveolar bone.
Periodontal disease is often preceded by gingivitis, an infection and inflammation of the gums. When not detected and treated on time, the infection can spread, causing destruction of the underlying jawbone. Loss of attachment, loose tooth, and tooth loss are the prime complications that arise later on.
Plaque and bacteria are the two main factors that predispose you to develop periodontal disease. Plaque is a thin, sticky coating present on your tooth surface, which when not removed through oral hygiene practices, can accumulate, leading to calculus formation. This paves the way for disease-causing bacterial colonization that releases harmful toxins and acids that erode the tooth structure and the soft tissues surrounding it.
- Genetic predisposition
- Hormonal changes as in pregnancy or menopause
- Certain medications like antidepressants
- Autoimmune conditions like lupus
- Systemic diseases like diabetes or heart disease
- Smoking and tobacco use
The classic symptom of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. Other signs include:
- Red and tender gums
- Swollen gums that appear reddish purple in color
- Gum recession (receding gums below the gum line)
- Prominent gingival pockets
- The affected tooth appears long due to receding gums
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Malaligned teeth
- Loose teeth
Types of periodontal disease
Based on the severity, there are four types of gum disease:
- Chronic periodontitis
- Aggressive periodontitis
- Necrotizing periodontitis
- Periodontitis caused by systemic diseases
Treating periodontal disease
There are several surgical and non-surgical methods of treating periodontal diseases based on the extent of tissue damage. These include:
- Antibiotic mouth rinses
- Oral antibiotics to eliminate infection
- Scaling and root planning
- Tissue regeneration
- Pocket elimination surgery
- Gum grafting
- Bone grafting
- Dental implants
Periodontal disease, though a very common dental problem, can be reversed in the early stages. This is possible through good oral hygiene practices. But if the disease progresses, it can lead to irreversible bone damage. Thus, it is essential to be aware of the early signs and symptoms to seek timely dental care and treatment.