Almost everybody knows that oral bacteria and plaque are the two main suspects behind periodontal disease. This knowledge is common. So too is the fact that the buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums can lead to an infection, which may eventually cause an infection of the gum tissue and the bones responsible for providing the necessary support for the teeth.
What most people don’t know, however, is that there are different stages of periodontal disease. That, also, in its early stages, its effects are still largely reversible.
Normally, the gums are pink and there’s going to be little to no signs of bleeding or inflammation. However, if plaque and bacteria are not removed through daily brushing and flossing and are left to build up, they can produce toxins that eventually will irritate the gum tissue.
Once the gum tissues are irritated, you may notice some bleeding when brushing and flossing your teeth. You may also notice the color of your gums changing from pink to crimson red, which is a sign of inflammation.
The good news that at this early stage, the damage done by gum disease is still reversible. This is because the bones and connective tissues responsible for keeping the teeth in their places have not been affected yet.
If you have your teeth and gums checked and cleaned by the dentist and start following a proper oral care routine, your teeth and gums should be in better shape and go back to normal in a few short weeks.
As the bacteria and plaque are left to grow and the disease to progress, the gums and teeth start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In such cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.
The dentist will also recommend that you start following an even more aggressive home care routine. This typically includes requiring parents to switch to a different type of toothbrush, toothpaste, and rinse using a specific type of mouthwash.
Anyone suffering from advanced periodontitis is at risk for tooth loss and for their teeth to fall out at any time. Also, at this stage, the diseased teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.
Even worse than losing teeth, however, is the fact that there’s been growing evidence over the years of the link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain and even lungs.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and periodic maintenance in the form of regular checkups, treatments and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.
While it is true that advanced periodontitis happens only to a few people, the number of people suffering from periodontal disease all throughout the world is still quite alarming.
Make sure that you and the people you’re closest to do not suffer from periodontal disease by promoting proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing, and of course, scheduling regular appointments with the dentist for checkups and professional cleanings.
If you are suffering from what you think may be periodontal disease, contact Creative Dimensions Dentistry in Castro Valley, CA at 510-881-8010 or visit www.cddentists.com for additional information regarding gum disease.