All periodontal diseases are conditions affecting your periodontium. It is a group of tissues that support your gums and teeth. Periodontitis, when translated, means inflammation of these supporting structures. The soft tissues surrounding your teeth and gums are so damaged and infected that they become inflamed. At the same time, the alveolar bones around your teeth can experience density loss. Eventually, periodontitis will cause you to lose your teeth.
Periodontitis is commonly the result of poor oral hygiene. Not having your periodontitis treated by a dentist can increase your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Though serious, it is preventable. For those who have already lost a tooth or several teeth due to this disease, dental implants can help restore them.
Are Periodontitis and Gingivitis the Same?
Gingivitis and periodontitis are both caused by bacteria found in tooth plaque. Though similar in nature, they are totally different. Periodontitis is a serious form of gingivitis. It occurs when gingivitis is left untreated.
With gingivitis, infection and inflammation happens on the surface only. Bacteria found in dental plaque seeps between your gums and teeth, causing the inflammation. In the long run, plaque buildup can become tartar, which is its mineralized form. It is hard to the touch and not easy to remove. When tartar is present, immediate dental care is needed.
Periodontitis also refers to the damage of bone and tissues, that’s why it needs proper care. It creates pockets between gums and teeth where bacteria can enter and cause infection. These bacteria release toxins that can make your teeth loose and eventually fall out.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
If you feel or see anything of the following, consult your dentist immediately.
1. Your gums are bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss them
2. Your gums are red (sometime dark purple) and swollen most of the time
3. You feel pain in your gums or it hurts to touch them
4. Your teeth look longer because your gums are receding
5. You see spaces between your gums and teeth, especially on the sides
6. There is a metallic taste in your mouth
7. Your teeth are loose
8. Your bite feels different and your teeth feel uneven
9. You have a foul-smelling breath
Treatment Options for Periodontitis
Treating periodontitis requires professional help. The initial treatments involve techniques such as scaling, root planing, ultrasonic cleaning, and debridement. These are non-surgical procedures that remove plaque and tartar.
Medications are also available. Mouthwash with antibiotics is a common prescription for periodontitis. Dental gels, chips, and tiny capsules or nodules are also prescribed. They can be put inside pockets or around the teeth to reduce pocket size and to control bacteria. In worse situations, surgery may be required.
To keep your gums and teeth healthy, it is always important to practice proper oral care. In cases of periodontitis, it is a long-term disease, so oral hygiene and regular dental visits cannot be put aside.