Your gums are important supporting structures of the tooth that surround and anchor them. They form a major component of the periodontium and maintain the integrity of your teeth and the oral cavity. Any infection or inflammation can lead to gum or periodontal disease that requires immediate attention. 

Buffalo Grove family dentistry enables patients to identify the warning signs of periodontal disease to seek timely dental care. Read on to learn more about this prevalent oral problem. 

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a common dental problem that involves the infection and inflammation of the gums and the bone that support your teeth. Almost three-fourths of all adults globally have some form of periodontal or gum disease. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Poor hygiene typically gives way to increased bacterial accumulation and plaque adherence, leading to periodontal disease. 

What causes periodontal disease? 

Poor oral hygiene leads to increased bacterial colonization, which forms an ideal environment for plaque adherence (a thin sticky coat formed on the tooth surface), which, over a period of time, hardens to form calculus. 

The possible risk factors for periodontal disease include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Diabetes 
  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking 
  • Excess alcohol consumption 
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause 
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus
  • Certain medications like tetracyclines

Is periodontal disease contagious?

Disease-causing bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass from one person to another. Repeated and long-term contact through saliva may increase your risk for periodontal disease. 

What are the possible signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

Periodontal signs and symptoms may include:

  • Red, swollen, and engorged gums
  • Discoloration of your gums (reddish, purplish, or greenish)
  • Bleeding gums 
  • Receding gums
  • The tooth appears longer than normal due to exposure to the tooth roots
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Metallic taste
  • Malocclusion or misalignment
  • Loose teeth 

How do you treat periodontal disease?

There are several treatment options depending on the severity and stage of the disease, including:

Mild to moderate cases

  • Supragingival cleaning 
  • Subgingival scaling 
  • Root planing
  • Medications 
  • Antibiotic gels and mouth rinse
  • Pocket irrigation 

Moderate to severe cases 

  • Pocket elimination surgery
    • Excising and reattaching the lost gingival tissue to its original position 
  • Tissue regeneration
    • To rehabilitate and revitalize damaged tissue structure through PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy
  • Gum grafting
    • Using gingival tissue grafts from other areas of the oral cavity to replace the lost gum tissues 
  • Bone grafting
    • Using bone grafts to restore the jawbone thickness and volume 
  • Dental implants 
    • Help in replacing missing teeth lost due to periodontal disease

It is important to know the warning signs of periodontal disease so that you can get appropriate treatment before the disease worsens.