Periodontal disease is one of the most common dental issues seen by Dr. Planes. Common to about 3 million people in the U.S., periodontal disease can only be diagnosed and treated by a dentist. Typically, lab tests and imaging is not required.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a disease that affects the gums and bones. Peri refers to being around and odontal refers to your teeth. Thus periodontal disease is infection around your teeth and its structure. It can lead to loss of teeth and is a risk factor for heart and lung disease.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is characterized by painful, swollen, bleeding gums. There’s also long-term bad breath that doesn’t resolve with brushing.
Advanced periodontal disease can spread from the gums to the surrounding bones, thus resulting in a bone infection. This symptom causes intense pain and if left untreated could lead to death.
How is periodontal disease diagnosed?
To diagnose periodontal disease, you’ll likely undergo a routine exam. The trained eye of an experienced dentist can almost immediately diagnose periodontal disease.
What are the stages of periodontal disease?
There are three stages to periodontal disease. The first is gingivitis. This is the earliest stage and is inflammation caused by plaque build up around the gum line. It’s the result of not flossing and brushing daily. At this stage, you can reverse the damage, since it hasn’t spread to deeper tissues and your bone.
Periodontitis is the second stage. During this stage, the supporting bones and tissue are damaged to the point where they cannot be reversed. Your gums develop pockets that further trap food and plaque, which results in additional damage.
Finally, the third stage is advanced periodontitis. In this stage, your gums, connective tissue, and bone are all affected to the point that damage can’t be reversed and you’ll lose teeth.
The best treatment for periodontitis is prevention. Regular brushing and flossing, along with avoidance of sugary foods can make a huge difference in the overall health of your mouth.
If you have early periodontitis (gingivitis), then the best thing to do is get a good cleaning, scaling, and root planing from your dentist and begin a routine of aggressive oral health care.
The second stage of periodontitis requires both aggressive scaling and root planing, along with possible removal of the gums, antibiotics, and even bone removal and grafting. This is both painful, expensive, and requires more recovery time.
The third stage of periodontitis will require removal of bone and connective tissue, along with teeth. Once your teeth are removed you’ll have to replace them with an implant or another prosthetic tooth.
If you’re concerned you might have periodontal disease, contact our office. Dr. Planes is experienced in diagnosing and treating the disease and is committed to ensuring you have a comfortable, enjoyable dental experience. Once you see the doctor, they’ll help create a plan of action to get your oral health on track. With periodontal disease, time is of the essence. Don’t wait until it’s too late.