All you need to know about periodontitis by Perio Family
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a silent infection of the gums which damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth. Silent because it causes no pain until the teeth start shaking. This infection is a result of bacteria accumulated on teeth and gums. Without treatment, the alveolar bone around the teeth is slowly and progressively lost. However, with early treatment and good oral hygiene, periodontitis can be controlled and eliminated.
The word "periodontitis" implies "inflammation around the tooth."
The leading cause of this infection is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth and envelops it, and eventually multiplies. As the immune system responds and toxins are released, inflammation (gingivitis) occurs. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to developing tartar or calculus.
In some cases, untreated periodontitis eventually results in tooth loss and can also potentially increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Most cases of periodontitis are preventable through good dental hygiene.
How is periodontitis diagnosed?
Your dentist will be able to detect symptoms of periodontitis at an early stage during a routine dental check-up. Dentists can monitor your periodontal status over time to ensure it doesn't get any worse.
The dentist may also use a minuscule ruler called a probe to measure any pockets on your gums. This examination is usually painless. If plaque, tartar, or both are found on your teeth, your dentist will remove them as part of professional cleaning. They may also take some X-rays or refer you to a periodontist.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Symptoms of periodontitis include:
Grow red, swollen, and tender.
Recede (tissue pulls back, so more of your teeth show).
Get surrounded by pus.
Look like they're longer (from receding gums).
Other symptoms include:
Change in the way you bite (the way your lower and upper teeth come together).
The primary aim of treatment is to clean out bacteria from the pockets around the teeth and prevent further destruction of bone and tissue. The treatment methodology and approach depend on how severe the infection is. Treatments range from deep cleaning to surgery. No matter what type of treatment you have, it's essential to maintain proper oral hygiene post-treatment.
How does deep cleaning treat periodontitis?
Deep cleaning extracts plaque by employing methods like scaling and root planning with a laser:
Scaling scrapes off the tartar from above and below the gum line.
Your dentist will carry out scaling and debridement to clean below the gum line using manual tools or an ultrasonic device that breaks up the plaque and calculus.
Root Planning gets rid of the subgingival bacteria and the rough spots on the roots of the teeth and ultimately smoothens the uneven surface.
Will I need periodontitis surgery?
Depending on the severity of infection, your dentist may recommend:
Flap surgery is a technique dentists use in plastic and reconstructive surgery that lifts back the gums and removes tartar deposits around the teeth. The gums then get sutured (stitched) closely around the teeth.
Bone and tissue grafting
This procedure uses natural or synthetic bone. Your periodontist grafts it to any areas of lost bone to stimulate growth. Your dentist may also use a procedure to help the gum tissue regenerate.
Oral hygiene practices
Your dental care team will give you instructions on reducing the number of bacteria in your mouth, which involves keeping your teeth and gums clean. Your dentist will advise you on using toothbrushes and dental floss properly and may recommend other oral hygiene products like a water pick or mouthwash.
Here are a few tips for keeping your teeth healthy:
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective.
Floss at least once a day to remove plaque.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.
Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
Visit Dr. Kumarswamy's PerioFamily Advanced Dentistry to secure your oral health status. Our clinic provides the treatments required to improve your oral health and hygiene. Contact us to schedule your next dentist appointment.