What is Periodontal Disease?

Most people are mindful about the health of their teeth, but they don’t necessarily consider the health of their gums. Taking care of your teeth and taking care of your gums are sometimes simultaneous tasks, but your gums may require some additional attention.

Almost half of adults will experience some form of gum disease in their lives. It’s common and treatable, although avoiding gum disease is always the best strategy. If you believe you may have gum disease, it’s time to schedule an appointment at First Dental Center in Tucson.

Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is usually caused by poor or insufficient oral hygiene habits. Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, brushing them improperly or failing to consistently floss can contribute to the development of periodontal disease.

Evaluating Your Gums

 Regularly assessing for signs of gum disease can help you intervene early in the event that new concerns begin to emerge. If caught at the very beginning stages, gum disease is completely reversible.  If you believe you’re experiencing gum disease, self assessment can give you an idea of how serious the situation has become. Any sign of gum disease at all, even if that sign is minor, warrants immediate attention.

Healthy Gums

 Healthy gums are a lively shade of pink. They aren’t sensitive or easily irritated. They fit snugly to the teeth, and there should be no visible buildup of plaque along the gumline. Healthy gums are maintained by brushing twice a day for two minutes a session, flossing, and attending every bi-annual dental checkup.

Gingivitis

 Gingivitis is the most common kind of gum disease. It’s the precursor that ultimately develops into periodontal disease if left untreated. When plaque begins to form under the gumline, it eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar on the surfaces of your teeth that are easy to access is still hard to remove. Tartar under the gumline is even more challenging.

 This tartar needs to be professionally removed during a deep cleaning. During that cleaning, your overall oral health will be evaluated. Any concerns can be resolved through proper dental care.

Early Periodontitis

 If tartar is left beneath the gum line without proper removal, that tartar causes permanent damage to your teeth. The bacterial buildup causes gum infection that causes your gums to separate from your teeth, widening the pockets and exposing a portion of the tooth that was intended to be covered.


Moderate Periodontitis

 As periodontitis progresses without intervention, infection may spread to the bone and the bloodstream. The gums become painful to the touch, and the teeth may begin to loosen as a result. An increase in inflammation can affect your whole body as it works to heal or balance itself. Since the body cannot fight plaque, this painful inflammation will be persistent.


Severe Periodontitis

 With severe periodontitis, pus may begin to secrete from the gums. It isn’t unusual for teeth to fall out. Infection causes a bad taste or smell in the mouth that doesn’t go away following brushing or using mouthwash. Your bones erode, causing permanent damage. Lost bone cannot be regrown, and dental implants cannot be placed into the gums to replace lost teeth without a bone grafting procedure.

Treating Gum Disease

 The treatment of gum disease is always proportional to the stage of the disease. The treatment of gingivitis is relatively simple. Treatments become more extensive with the progression of periodontitis.

Early Stage Treatment

Gingivitis can usually be resolved with minimal intervention from your dentist. You’ll need a professional cleaning and an examination. Replace your toothbrush every two months and use a mouthwash designed for people with gingivitis. Changing your diet to avoid sugary or acidic foods is beneficial at all times, but it’s most beneficial when you’re attempting to heal your mouth.

 Flossing is extremely important. If you find that string floss irritates your gums or makes them bleed, you might benefit from using a water flosser. Water flossers provide the equivalent of a massage for your gums. The stimulation can help to promote the healing process.  However, it does not replace flossing entirely.

 Staying on top of your oral care routine can help your gums to recover and prevent the situation from recurring. It’s crucial to remain consistent in your habits.

Later Stage Treatment

 Treatment of periodontal disease involves scaling and root planing, an intensive form of deep cleaning where the dentist removes plaque from under the gumline. The tooth root is smoothed to make it easier for the gums to heal, shrink, and return to their natural position.

 Late stage treatment may also involve extractions of teeth that are too loose or too damaged to salvage through restorative dentistry. The goal is always to repair teeth rather than to extract them.

Restoring Teeth

 Advanced stages of periodontitis sometimes require tooth removal. Loose or severely decayed teeth may not be able to be repaired. If teeth have already fallen out as a result of the periodontal disease, you’ll need to replace them.

 Dental implants aren’t usually a wise option for people with very advanced periodontal disease, as the bone is too damaged to support them. Bridges or partials can be used to restore missing teeth.  Every case is different. Your dentist will be able to advise you of your options upon completion of an examination and root planing procedure.

First Dental is Here for the Health of Your Gums

 Don’t wait until pain, inflammation, receding gums, or tartar become difficult to deal with. The sooner you visit First Dental Center in Tucson, the easier it will be to treat your gum disease and maintain the health of your mouth. Periodontal disease left unchecked can cause extensive and complicated oral health issues. Early intervention can prevent the situation from escalating to that point.

 First Dental Center can treat patients with gum disease at any stage. Although it’s best to address the problem early, it’s never too late to address the problem. Never skip your bi-annual dental checkup, and always schedule an appointment the moment an oral health concern arises.

First Dental Center is committed to fighting periodontal disease. We are located at 1710 W Valencia Rd. suite 190. We are just east of Mission Road. Our location is easy to access from anywhere in Southwest Tucson.