what is periodontal disease?

How Save Your Teeth

Gum disease is usually rather painless, but it can cause serious damage in several ways. The milder form, called gingivitis, is generally not much of a problem to your teeth and gums. Periodontal disease is an entirely different story and it needs to be brought under control quickly to avoid extensive damage to the gums, teeth, and jawbone.


Once periodontal disease gets started, it will require a dentist to get rid of it. The CDC believes that as many as 50 percent of adults 30 or older have what is called advanced periodontal disease. This is equal to more than 64 million Americans.


What are the causes and symptoms of periodontal disease?

Although there are several factors that help in the development of gum disease, both gingivitis and periodontal disease have the same root cause – bacteria. This bad bacterium is always in your mouth, but it is generally controlled in a healthy mouth. It feeds on sugar, and when it does, it produces an acid. The acid causes cavities and inflammation of the gums.


Over time, if the bad bacteria are allowed to multiply, pockets in the gums will develop and colonies of these bacteria will form inside of them. As it continues to produce acid, it begins to erode the gums, the tissues that support the teeth, and the jawbone underneath. The teeth will begin to get loose and may fall out.


There are several causes of periodontal disease, but the primary one is simply not keeping the bacteria away from your teeth. This means that you most likely are not keeping up with brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing.


Other risk factors usually play on the primary one, but they can act alone. The other factors include:


  • Diabetes – gum disease is hard to control with diabetes. They go hand-in-hand – you cannot control one without controlling the other, too.

  • Medications – some medications will promote periodontitis, but those that cause dry mouth are a special problem.

  • Hormonal changes in women – including pregnancy.

  • Some illnesses.

  • Smoking – or using any kind of tobacco.

  • Obesity

  • Insufficient nutrition

  • Genetics – about one-third of Americans have the gene, but it does not mean you will get gum disease. If you do, however, it is apt to be difficult to control.


Several symptoms will reveal the presence of gum disease and periodontal disease. The symptoms of gingivitis include infected gums and bleeding gums. If allowed to continue, gingivitis develops more serious symptoms and becomes periodontitis, with symptoms that include:


  • Receding gums

  • Bad breath that will not go away

  • Gums pulling away from your teeth

  • Inflamed gums

  • Pus forming along the gum line

  • Painful chewing

  • Loose teeth.

  • Spaces developing between your teeth


Recent research has shown that having any kind of gum disease can seriously affect your overall health. Periodontal disease causes inflammation that is now believed to spread throughout the body from the gums, causing such problems as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and many more.


Different Types of Periodontal Disease

There are three different types of periodontitis. They all need treatment.


  • Chronic Periodontitis – It is the most common kind and it affects mostly adults. It causes slow deterioration, but it may get better or worse at times.


  • Aggressive Periodontitis – This is a rare form but it usually starts during childhood. It is usually genetic and the destruction occurs rapidly.


  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease – It involves the death of gum tissue, the ligaments that support the teeth, and the bone, causing severe infection. Most people that get it are immune system compromised

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

Preventing periodontal disease in most cases is rather simple. Since periodontal disease starts out as gingivitis, generally all that is needed to remove it is to brush twice a day and floss. This will take care of it in most cases.


Other things that you can do are to quit smoking, eat healthy foods to strengthen your gums immune system, consume less sugary foods, and visit the dentist to keep an eye on gum disease if it develops.



Treatments available for periodontal disease


Several treatments are available for periodontal disease. The dentist will need to tell you which periodontal treatments are needed. They include:


  • Scaling and rootplaning – the dentist will open the pockets and remove the bacteria. Rough surfaces on teeth will be smoothed out.


  • Medications – different types of medicines may be inserted into the gum pockets to destroy the bacteria. They may include antibiotics and enzyme suppressants.


  • Flap surgery – The gums are lifted back and then cleaned out. When completed, they are sutured to reduce pocket depth.


  • Bone and tissue grafts – These grafts may be necessary to replace destroyed tissue and to restore a more normal appearance. Gum grafts may be performed with a laser.


Cost of Periodontal Treatment

The cost of getting periodontal disease treatment depends on the severity of the disease and how many appointments are needed. More serious periodontal disease needs to be treated by a specialist – a periodontist. A simpler treatment such as scaling and root planing will cost between $140 and $210. The cost for more severe problems will cost around $10,000. Laser treatment will cost about $1,000 per quadrant.


If you need periodontal disease treatment and live in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas, you can get it from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. In addition to gum disease treatment, he also offers cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile. For more information about his dental services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.

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