What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a common affliction. It’s estimated that 50% of American adults suffer from some level of periodontal disease. This can range from a relatively harmless case of gum inflammation to serious late-stage periodontal disease that can result in tooth loss or life-threatening infection. Early stages of periodontal disease are reversible, but once the disease progresses, the deterioration results in permanent bone loss.
Gingivitis is how periodontal disease starts out. When the teeth are not cleaned properly and plaque and tartar (calculus) are left behind. The buildup of deposits and bacteria along the gumline result in inflammation and irritation of the tissue. If you have these symptoms, you likely have gingivitis:
– Red, swollen gums
– Gums that bleed easily with brushing and flossing
– Tender gums to touch
– Persistent bad breath
Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible. The condition is treated with a simple professional cleaning along with improved home care.
Periodontitis develops if gingivitis is not addressed. Without a cleaning, the buildup of bacteria continues to irritate the oral tissue to the point where bone loss begins. As a result, deep pockets develop in the space between your tooth and your gums, making it even harder for the area to be cleaned and allowing for the infection to progress. Once bone is lost, it cannot be regrown. Eventually the loss of bony support will cause the teeth to become loose or result in total tooth loss. In addition to the symptoms of gingivitis, symptoms of periodontal disease include:
– Receding gums
– Periodontal pockets
– Exposed tooth roots
– Loose teeth
Periodontal Health and Overall Health
Many studies link poor oral health to systemic diseases. Periodontal disease is the result of your mouth fighting off a chronic infection, resulting in chronic inflammation in your body. Periodontal disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and activate immune cells. These activated cells produce inflammatory biological signals (cytokines) that have a destructive effect throughout the entire body. This can wreak havoc on your overall health. Periodontal disease is tied to several systemic diseases including:
– Cardiovascular disease
– Respiratory diseases (COPD, pneumonia infections from breathing in oral bacteria)
– Low birth weight
– Rheumatoid arthritis
Am I at risk?
Risk factors that increase your chances of developing periodontal disease include: aging, stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Additionally, periodontal disease and some systemic diseases often go hand-in-hand. So certain conditions, like diabetes also increases your risk for developing periodontitis.
Prevention & Treatment
Our dental hygienists are specially trained to treat periodontal disease. Dental hygienists perform a deep cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” Scaling and root planing therapy has proven to be one of the most effective ways to treat periodontal disease. By cleaning off the hardened deposits and flushing out bacteria, scaling an root planing reduces periodontal pocket depth and improves periodontal health. This is a nonsurgical periodontal treatment performed under local anesthesia.
Our hygienists can help you keep to a routine that will slow down the rate of your periodontal disease or work with you to prevent it entirely. Regular visits and advice will help build your confidence in keeping your mouth healthy.
Deep cleanings in Harlan, IA
At Cornerstone Dental, we understand that your oral health is about more than just good teeth. Our talented and caring staff of dental hygienists specialize in gum disease treatment and periodontal care and work to ensure you keep your smile for a lifetime. Learn more about our periodontal services by scheduling your appointment at Cornerstone Dental today!