What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is an advanced gum disease that poses a threat to a patient’s overall dental and oral health. The gums are compromised by bacteria that infects the patient’s bone tissue and eventually separates the gums from the teeth. If this process isn’t caught and treated in its early stages, there may be a risk of tooth loss and infections that could affect the patient’s overall health.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
The symptoms of periodontal disease become almost impossible to ignore over time. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Red, swollen and bleeding gums
- Deep pockets forming between the teeth and gums
- Odorous breath that persists even after brushing
- Loosening teeth
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is insidious. It is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This is the early stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis. Left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place. Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signals. The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don't know why.
Tooth loss is only the most obvious indicator of gum disease. Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes - even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened. In the past, fear of painful dental surgery has kept people with gum disease from seeking the care they needed. Well, those days are gone forever.
Gum Disease Treatment in Gaithersburg, MD
The good news is that gum disease at an early stage, called gingivitis, can be reversed simply with professional teeth cleaning by your dentist and with good dental practices at home. If allowed to progress, then more invasive procedures may be required to eliminate the infection and its source.
Deep cleaning methods such as scaling and root planning can scrape off the tartar from very difficult areas. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics for infections that don't go away after cleanings. While being treated you may have to come into the office every 3 to 6 months to check on your progress.
Surgery may be required for areas where gum disease persists and is not accessible to cleaning by other means.
Want to learn more about gum disease treatment in the Gaithersburg, MD area?
Call Alice Lau D.M.D. today at (301) 921-8899!