Statistics have shown that between 50 and 80 percent of American adults suffer from some extent of periodontal gum disease. Periodontal gum disease is caused by plaque build-up that causes inflammation of the gums. The symptoms include red, swollen, or bleeding gums; bad breath; painful chewing; sensitive teeth; and even tooth loss. With effective dental hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist, this disease can be preceded or treated if discovered in its early stages. If it persists into its advanced stages, dental practices provide treatment to promote healthy gum tissues and prevent tooth loss.
Periodontal gum disease has many stages and forms depending on the severity and the time left untreated. The initial stage is gingivitis. In this stage, the gums are red in appearance and exhibit mild inflammation and soreness. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis in which the bone tissue begins to deteriorate as the gum separates from the tooth. In the advanced stages of periodontitis, the gum separates further from the tooth as the bone deteriorates even more, causing the tooth to become loose and eventually fall out. In fact, periodontal gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It is important to see a dentist at the first signs so that it does not progress into advanced periodontitis.
The treatment for periodontal gum disease revolves around cleansing the crevice where the gum meets the tooth, called the sulcus. The sulcus becomes deeper with disease and dentists take action when they notice these gaps to restore the health of the gums and prevent losing the tooth. Dentists typically use scaling and root planning to treat infected areas. Scaling is the process of removing plaque from the tooth and root surfaces above and below the gum line and is generally followed up with the process of root planning or the smoothing of the root surfaces so the gums can heal. The final step of the treatment is oral irrigation in which water is shot into the sulcus to flush out germs and plaque. Some dentists may also use antibiotic therapy along with the treatment to reduce pain and the risk of infection.
It is important to see a dentist at the first signs of periodontal gum disease so that it does not progress into advanced periodontitis with a risk of tooth loss. Reliable dental practices can effectively treat it with scaling and root planning as well as with antibiotic therapy to further aid in the healing process. Practicing good dental hygiene habits is the best line of defense against gum disease and if it does occur, be sure to visit a dentist immediately.