Periodontitis is a chronic, or long-term, inflammatory disease that occurs when you don’t have good oral hygiene. This serious gum infection will damage your soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports your teeth. While this disease is common, it’s also quite preventable if you brush at least twice a day, floss daily and get regular dental checkups with us at Nicholas Dose, DMD - Family Dental Care.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Periodontitis is known for causing teeth to loosen, which can lead to tooth loss, but this isn’t the only symptom. You can simply look at your gums, and if they’re swollen, puffy, bright red or purplish, you’ll know you have a problem. Your gums will also feel “different” than they should – tenderness, bleeding easily, pain when chewing, or simply feeling like you have pus in your mouth is also a problem. It’s even possible that your teeth may start fitting together differently because your teeth are loose or have spaces developing in between them. These issues can also cause you to have bad breath.
Types of Periodontitis
There are several different types of periodontitis – some of which are more common than others.
Chronic periodontitis is the most common type. While it mainly affects adults, it can also affect children. It’s caused by plaque buildup and involves the slow deterioration of your gums.
The type of periodontitis that most commonly affects children is known as aggressive periodontitis. You could also get necrotizing periodontal disease. This is when your gums, tooth ligaments, and the supporting bones begin to die, leaving you facing a really bad infection. Typically, we see this in patients that have a highly suppressed immune system, such as someone with cancer, extreme malnutrition, or HIV.
How to Treat Periodontitis
Treating periodontitis mainly involves cleaning out the bacteria from the pockets around your teeth so that your bones and tissues aren’t further destroyed. This process is commonly referred to as “scaling.” It simply means removing any plaque and calculus to restore you to good periodontal health. While hand tools are commonly used here, sometimes an ultrasonic device that breaks up the plaque and calculus is also used. Root planing is also done to smooth out any rough areas on the roots of your teeth. This is important because bacteria can become lodged in these rough patches, increasing the risk of gum disease. Depending on how much plaque and calculus you have, you may need as many as two visits.
There’s an old saying that holds true here: “An ounce of prevention is much better than a pound of cure.” This is why you need to practice good oral hygiene daily – brushing your teeth twice with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you don’t already have these habits, you’ll need to establish them so that you don’t have recurring issues with periodontitis.
When you feel like you may have periodontitis, you should contact us at Nicholas Dose, DMD - Family Dental Care right away. You can reach us at (503) 765-7300 to set up an appointment to come into our office and see how we can help you improve the health of your gums today.