Periodontal disease is a silent, potentially serious problem that impacts over 50% of Americans over the age of 30 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luckily, if caught in the early stages it can be treated. Unfortunately, the early signs of periodontal disease are so minor that people tend to ignore them and not seek treatment.
If you are unsure whether or not you have periodontal disease and need to seek treatment, we are here to help. The following is a quick guide to periodontal disease. We will explore the various types of periodontal disease, what causes it to form, how it can impact your health, and what treatment options are available.
Taking a Closer Look at Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the term that is used to apply to any condition that causes the inflammation or irritation of the gums around the tooth. Everything from the soft tissue that surrounds a tooth to the root of the actual tooth and the jawbone can be impacted by periodontal disease.
Inflammation and irritation are caused by bacteria that have been left around the teeth and gums. This bacteria slowly starts to spread around the gums and surrounding area. Over time, the bacteria has spread so much that it eventually causes an infection. The redness, pain, and swelling you experience are the result of the infection caused by the bacteria.
The Different Types of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is just a general term. There are actually several specific types of periodontal disease.
The different types of periodontal disease include:
- Gingivitis – the mild inflammation of the gums
- Chronic periodontitis – gum recession and the appearance of deep pockets around the teeth
- Aggressive periodontitis – a very rapid form that quickly destroys the gum, bones, and roots of the teeth in otherwise healthy individuals
- Necrotizing periodontitis – a form of the disease which causes the actual death of the tissue that surrounds teeth. This usually occurs in people with various health conditions in which the immune system is suppressed.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Anything from what you eat to your genetics and even various lifestyle choices can increase your chance of developing periodontal disease. The following are some of the most common causes of periodontal disease:
- Failure to brush and floss daily the recommended amount of times
- Failure to follow up with your dentist for regular professional cleanings
- Putting off dental work, such as fillings or root canals
- Genetics – some individuals have a genetic predisposition for developing periodontal disease
- Pregnancy and menopause – hormonal changes cause the gums to become more susceptible to periodontal disease
- Poor diet – eating a diet that is not rich in vitamins and nutrients
- Chronic stress – the immune system becomes suppressed when under stress and cannot fight the infection
- Medical conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis
- Teeth grinding – damages the gum tissue
- Certain medications
The Effects of Periodontal Disease
It isn’t the end of the world if you develop periodontal disease. However, it is important that should you develop this disease, you seek treatment for it as it can have an adverse effect on your overall health.
Many medical and dental researchers believe that untreated periodontal disease can be directly linked to multiple health and medical problems. These medical problems, which range from strokes, heart attacks, and premature births to diabetes, lung infections, and pneumonia, may be able to be prevented if periodontal disease is treated in the early stages and not left to grow and spread.
Treatment Options for Those with Periodontal Disease
Failure to seek treatment for periodontal disease can dramatically impact your overall health and dental hygiene. The type of treatment that you will need will depend upon the type of periodontal disease you have and the severity. Some individuals may be able to treat their periodontal disease with regular professional cleanings and making lifestyle changes while others may need more intense treatment.
Some of the treatment options for people with periodontal disease include:
- Tissue regeneration
- Deep cleaning or scaling and root planing
- Oral surgery to reduce the size of the pockets of tissue
- Dental implants when teeth have been too damaged from periodontal disease
If you suspect you may have periodontal disease, let the dental professionals at Artistic Touch Dentistry help you. We can conduct a complete exam that will help determine whether you have periodontal disease or not and the severity of it. Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, we can create a customized treatment plan that will help you improve your oral health.
Call us today to schedule an appointment.