Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important for your entire body. However, there are certain conditions that can pose a threat to our dental and overall health, one of which is periodontal disease. At Fifth Avenue Dental Arts, our San Diego dentists understand the importance of educating our patients about periodontal disease, its causes, and symptoms.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is primarily caused by a bacterial infection in the gum tissues and bone that surround each of your teeth. The disease progresses in stages, starting with gingivitis and, if left untreated, advancing to periodontitis. If it’s left untreated, it will continue to cause infection and loss of gum and bone support, leading to loose teeth or teeth that fall out entirely.
Poor oral hygiene habits, such as inadequate brushing and skipping the dental floss, can lead to plaque and tartar buildup, both of which harbor bacteria. There are also added risk factors that can increase the chances of getting periodontal disease, such as smoking, family history, your diet, and systemic diseases like diabetes.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Understanding the warning signs of periodontal disease is essential for early detection and effective treatment. The sooner gum infections are addressed, the more conservative the treatment is. Some common signs to watch out for include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums: Gum inflammation is a common early symptom of both gingivitis and gum disease. Healthy gums should appear pink and firm, so any changes in their appearance or texture should be taken seriously. Keep in mind that if you smoke or use tobacco products, you might not see redness or inflammation the way a non-smoker would.
- Bleeding gums: Healthy gums should not bleed whenever you’re brushing or flossing. If you notice bleeding, it could be an indication of gum disease or at the very least, gingivitis. Make sure you’re gently brushing your gums and flossing every day.
- Persistent bad breath: Gum disease bacteria and the necrotic (dying) gum tissues in those areas release foul-smelling odors, resulting in chronic bad breath. While halitosis can have multiple causes, it is often associated with periodontal disease.
- Receding gums: As gum disease progresses, the gums may start to recede and pull away from the tooth, exposing the roots. This can increase your risk of tooth sensitivity and tooth decay and make the teeth appear longer.
- Loose or shifting teeth: Periodontal disease damages the supporting structures of the teeth, leading to tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss if left untreated.
Scaling and Root Planing in Periodontics
If you have gum disease, our San Diego dentists may recommend a non-surgical procedure called scaling and root planning, or periodontal therapy. This deep cleaning treatment involves the removal of plaque and tartar from below the gum line, as well as the smoothing of rough areas of buildup on your root surfaces to prevent further bacterial accumulation. Scaling and root planning can help control the progression of gum disease and promote gum tissue healing.
Periodontic Care for Older Adults
As we age, the risk of developing periodontal disease may also increase. The aging process can lead to a weakened immune response, making older adults more susceptible to infections (especially if they have co-existing medical conditions.) Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene are essential for maintaining healthy gums and preventing periodontal disease as we age. Our San Diego dentist can provide specialized care tailored to the unique needs of older patients.
Periodontal Care Around Dental Implants
For patients with dental implants, proper periodontal health is crucial to ensure their long-term success. Although dental implants are not susceptible to decay, they can still be affected by peri-implantitis, a condition similar to gum disease that affects the tissues surrounding the implant. Regular professional cleanings and diligent oral hygiene practices at home are vital to prevent peri-implantitis and maintain the health and stability of their dental implants.
Schedule a Consultation with the Best Periodontist in Downtown San Diego
If you suspect that you may have gum disease want a second opinion about periodontal treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Downtown San Diego at Fifth Avenue Dental Arts. Contact us today!