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.
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 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 habits daily – brushing your teeth twice with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you don’t already have these habits in your routine, you’ll need to establish them so that you don’t have recurring issues with periodontitis.
Are you interested in learning more about periodontitis? Give us a call at (503) 647-4565. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!