Also known as gum disease and periodontitis, this oral malady is a progressive disease and is the leading reason for tooth loss in adults. The first signs of periodontal disease are the irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue (gingiva) caused by toxins in the plaque. The toxins cause the bacterial infection of gum tissue known as gingivitis. This can lead to the destruction of gum tissue and the bone beneath it. If left untreated, periodontal disease can eventually loosen the tooth and cause it to fall.
General Signs and Symptoms
Please note that this oral disease can develop and progress without any initial signs or pain. Only regular check-ups by your dentist can prevent the onset of periodontal disease or enable timely treatment so the disease does not worsen. Some of the most common symptoms of periodontitis are given below and if you have any of them, schedule a dental appointment as soon as it is convenient:
Bleeding: As noted above, plaque causes bacterial infections, making the tissues vulnerable to bleeding. Incorrect brushing and flossing can cause teeth and gums to bleed, causing further infections and onset of periodontal disease.
Swelling, Pain or Redness: Unexplained pain, swelling or redness of the gums may be an indication of infection and the onset of periodontitis. It is essential to treat the infection at this stage so as to prevent it from affecting the gum tissue and underlying bone. Another reason to take action promptly is to prevent the infection from entering the bloodstream, through which it can be ferried to other parts of the body.
Longer-Looking Teeth: One-way periodontal infection destroys gum tissue and bone is by causing the gums to recede. This exposes the upper parts of your teeth and makes them look longer; this is one of the reasons why people have ‘toothy’ smiles.
Halitosis or Bad Breath: Bad breath can originate from numerous places like the tongue, lungs, and stomach and can also be the result of food, alcohol or tobacco. However, breath odor can also be caused by food particles stuck between the teeth and under the gum line. The food particles can decay, cause foul breath and make the tissues vulnerable to infection. Deeper gum pockets can accommodate more of food debris and may also be indicative of loose gums.
Loose Teeth: Loosening of the teeth is a sure sign of periodontal disease. Teeth, once firmly attached to the jawbone start becoming unfixed or shift position when the bone tissue gets destroyed by infection.
Pus: Pus is a definite sign of the presence of periodontal infection. The pus is a soldier of your body’s immune system and is fighting the bacterial infection. However, it may need re-enforcements from your dentist in the form of timely treatment.
It is essential to stop the progress periodontal disease in its tracks before it causes any further damage to the gums and jawbone. Your dentist will initially examine the whole of your mouth in order to make a positive diagnosis. He will then determine the progress and extent of the infection and damage already caused by the disease. The dental specialist may then treat the infection with antibiotics and other non-surgical options. These treatments may or may not be accompanied by surgery.