Periodontal disease, or more commonly referred to as Gum disease affects over 75% of adults and contributes to more tooth loss than decay.
Caused by the buildup of plaque bacteria that attack the gums, supporting tissues and eventually leads to bone loss. Periodontal disease may display warning signs such as:
- Gums that are red, swollen, tender or bleed easily
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Changes in tooth position, looseness, separation or mismatch
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an oral health condition caused by the buildup of plaque bacteria on the teeth. These bacteria attack the gums and supporting oral tissues, eventually leading to tooth and bone loss.
Levels of Gum Disease
There are four levels of severity when it comes to gum disease, including:
- Gingivitis: Plaque buildup has caused the gums to become inflamed and sensitive, making bleeding quite common, even with minimal pressure.
- Mild Periodontitis: Plaque buildup has caused the gums to recede enough to create a pocket around the tooth.
- Moderate Periodontitis: Damage has reached the bone and the periodontal pocket around the tooth has increased in size.
- Severe Periodontitis: Damage has become excessive, and the gums have receded enough to where the tooth may become loose.
Signs & Symptoms
On paper, gum disease may seem easy to notice, but given the high percentage of the population affected by this condition, being aware of the signs and symptoms may not be as easy as one would think.
Common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease may include:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that have receded from the teeth
- Frequent, foul-smelling breath or a foul taste in the mouth
- Loosening of the teeth or changes in tooth position
Risks & Contributing Factors
Factors that contribute to the development of gum disease include tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, a family history of oral health problems, crooked teeth, pregnancy, diabetes, and taking certain medications.
The good news is that when detected in earlier stages, gum disease can be treated and even reversed, which prevents long-term damage.
Depending on how severe an individual’s condition has become, treatment may take different forms. For more mild cases, a series of professional dental cleanings and a more well-rounded oral health regimen will likely help reverse the damage done.
However, more severe cases of gum disease may require more in-depth treatment. Scaling, root planing, and antibiotic treatment are common protocols a dentist might suggest in these situations.
When a patient’s periodontal disease is extremely far-reaching, a dentist might opt for surgical intervention to repair the damage done. Pocket-reduction surgery, gum grafts, bone grafts, and tissue regeneration procedures are options to consider.
No matter the severity of the condition, it’s always ideal to consult an experienced dental provider to determine which care options will best meet a patient’s needs. If you’re concerned about your oral health, or you suspect you may have gum disease, reach out to Golden Heart Dental.
Dr. Shawn Miller DDS and our experienced team at Golden Heart Dental provides treatment for periodontal disease in Fairbanks, AK. We often serve patients from the Fairbanks, Ester, and North Pole area of east-central Alaska. Call us today at 907-328-0868 or request an appointment.