If you have a winning smile and are proud to show it off whenever you can, you obviously take great pride in the care of your teeth and gums to ensure your smile remains brilliant. It is likely that you have a great dental hygiene regimen that you stick to every day to prevent any kind of oral health issue from bad breath to gum recession, tooth decay to bone loss, and everything in between. One serious condition that can severely impact your dental health is periodontal disease (gum disease).
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gums which may also affect the jawbone and can lead to tooth loss and overall systemic issues. It comes in four stages: gingivitis, chronic periodontitis, aggressive periodontitis, and necrotizing periodontitis. Everything begins with the buildup of bacteria in your mouth and progresses from there.
After the gingivitis stage, pockets are created when the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth. These pockets then become infected when food and debris become lodged in them. Naturally, your body will start to fight the infection caused by bacterial invaders, and toxins produced by the bacteria begin to break down the bone and connective tissue which hold your teeth in place. The deeper the pockets become the more gum tissue and bone that is destroyed. You may also lose teeth entirely.
Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream through gum tissue and possibly have negative effects on your heart, lungs, and other parts of the body. Though more medical studies are needed to confirm the connection, periodontal disease may be linked with respiratory disease, heart disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
During your regular teeth cleaning in the morning, afternoon, evening, and before bed, be sure to take an assessment of your gums as well as your teeth. Healthy gums should be firm, pale pink, and fit snuggly around your teeth. Some signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Puffy or red swollen gums
- Red or purplish gums
- Tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Receding gums (your teeth may start to look longer than you are used to)
- Spaces between your teeth which were not previously there or loose teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Pain while chewing
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, contact our Norman dental experts for an assessment of your risk for periodontal issues.
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
At Smile Solutions, our dental professionals know how important it is to treat periodontitis as soon as any symptoms are visible or there is any pain. During your initial visit, our dentists will examine your mouth, measure pocket depth (the groove between your gums and teeth) to see if it is deeper than 4mm, take dental X-rays to check for bone loss, and make a diagnosis. Depending on the advancement of your periodontal condition, treatment methods include:
- Deep cleaning (with scaling and root planing)
- Topical or oral bacteria-specific antibiotics
- “Flap” surgery (pocket reduction surgery)
- Soft tissue graft
- Bone graft (most severe of cases)
Our experienced dentists at Smile Solutions will explain the process to you and recommend the best individualized treatment. Norman, OK, patients have access to our dentists’ knowledge, skills, and expertise in all oral hygiene related issues and care.
Contact Our Norman Oral Health Experts
If you feel you might be at risk for gum disease, contact Smile Solutions via email, phone, or our online form. We are here to help you assess your situation and provide you with the best possible treatment and the highest quality care from our doctors and staff. Let us help you change your life with a bright, healthy smile.
Norman, OK 73071