Longview dentist explains the symptoms and stages of periodontal disease
Periodontal (or gum) disease is a serious condition that can negatively affect the appearance of the smile and the patient’s health. Infections that result from gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and put patients at an increased risk for other medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Periodontal disease is most often caused by poor or improper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly and correctly is important to the health of the mouth. When food particles are left trapped in the teeth, they become a haven for bacterial growth and plaque buildup. When this happens, the gums become inflamed. At this initial stage, known as gingivitis, gum disease can generally be reversed with a professional deep cleaning and an improvement in oral hygiene.
Symptoms of early gum disease are:
- Swollen, red gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding gums after brushing teeth
When gingivitis goes untreated, it eventually advances to a stage that causes irreversible damage. At this point, a patient is considered to have full blown periodontal disease. While the damage cannot be reserved, advanced periodontal disease can be treated and controlled. Treatment for periodontal disease usually involves a procedure known as scaling and root planing to clean all the way down to the root and remove infection. Medications such as antibiotics may also be prescribed for the patient. Depending on how advanced the disease has become, patients may also require cosmetic or restorative treatment such as dentures or dental implants to replace lost teeth.
Symptoms of periodontal disease are:
- Receding gums
- Lose or shifting teeth
- Deep pockets between the gum and teeth
- Sores or pus around the gum line
- A change in the fit of a partial denture
It is important for any patient who has had periodontal disease to practice meticulous oral hygiene at home to prevent the condition from recurring. Everyone should make sure to brush at least twice each day with a soft bristled toothbrush, and floss before bedtime. It is also a good idea to rinse the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash.
If you are in the Longview area and would like more information on periodontal disease stages and effective treatment and management, please call Clint Bruyere DDS at 903-708-6116.