Periodontal disease is loss of the jaw bone from around the teeth, and ranges from gum bleeding and inflammation, called gingivitis - to severe loss and infection of the gums and jaw bone, called Periodontal disease. In the worst cases, teeth may be lost, when they become infected, or so loose that they hurt to bite on.
Gum disease - or gingivitis - begins with plaque bacteria, which causes the gums to be inflamed and swollen. Gingivitis is present where there are bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, and persistent bad breath,. Progression of the disease may cause loss of the jaw bone and gum that holds the teeth in.
Once the bone is damaged in periodontal disease, it is an irreversible disease, so it is critical that it is picked up at an early point for preventive measures or treatments, which can make a big difference.
Prevention is by far the best treatment for periodontal disease, and visiting your dentist each six months for a complete check up and preventive care, including periodontal screening and digital x-rays each two years to look for deposits of plaque and calculus, and loss of the jaw bone, allows any dental issues to be identified, controlled and treated early.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen or inflamed gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or teeth that appear longer
Many people with mild gum disease don’t show any symptoms, but if you notice anything different about your mouth or teeth, please tell your dentist. If you do have periodontal disease, the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. Severe periodontal disease treatment may involve a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, in which the dental hygienist or dentist removes tartar - or calculus - from both above and below the gum line and smooths rough spots on tooth roots where plaque-causing bacteria lives and likes to stick on.
Regular dental care at home of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, plus regular visits to the dentist for active maintenance and professional scaling and cleaning each 6 months, allow any problems to be picked up at an early stage.