Periodontal DiseaseThe Woodlands, TX
Periodontal disease is a condition that affects the gum tissue and the bones surrounding the teeth. It typically begins with an accumulation of excess plaque. If left untreated, periodontal disease can have disastrous health consequences.
Treatment for periodontal disease is available in The Woodlands and the surrounding area at Montgomery County Periodontal Associates. Your periodontal health is integral to your overall health. Call us today at 281-404-7548 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Understanding Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, typically results from the supporting gums and bone surrounding the teeth becoming infected or inflamed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontal disease is one of the largest threats to dental health. It is most common in adults, with one recent CDC report showing that nearly 50% of adults aged 30 and older and over 70% of adults aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.
There are two main forms of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less progressed form, while periodontitis is the more advanced form. Gingivitis may cause red, swollen, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it may develop into periodontitis, which can cause loss of bone, tooth loss, and gums pulling away from the teeth. Since periodontal disease can have such drastic effects, patients should take action immediately. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for patients to recognize the signs of periodontal disease until the condition has already significantly progressed — thus emphasizing the importance of routine dental visits.
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Signs of Periodontal Disease
The ideal gums are pale pink, firm, and fit comfortably around the teeth. Disruptions from this baseline are typically indicative of periodontal disease. Symptoms of periodontal disease include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in the way teeth fit together while biting down
- Gum recession
- Gums that bleed during and after brushing teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- New deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
It is not uncommon for some patients to be affected by gum disease even without exhibiting any symptoms. Some patients may also only be affected by periodontal disease in certain teeth. As such, patients should seek routine dental care and consult with a periodontist as soon as they suspect they have gum disease.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Mouths are naturally full of bacteria, mucus, and other particles. All these factors are constantly working together to form a sticky, colorless substance on the teeth. This substance is known as plaque. Plaque can be removed via brushing and flossing. However, plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing alone but requires a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Even plaque may cause gingivitis. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is typically caused by an accumulation of tartar or ongoing gum inflammation. Over time, this will create pockets between the gums and the teeth. These pockets act as natural magnets for bacteria, plaque, and tartar. They will gradually become deeper and collect more bacteria, potentially causing bone and tissue loss (including tooth loss). The immune system may also be strained by this type of chronic inflammation.
Treating Periodontal Disease
When it comes to treating periodontal disease, controlling the infection is key. There are various ways we may be able to treat periodontal disease. We decide which combination of methods is best on a patient-by-patient basis, depending on the extent of the disease. In any case, patients must maintain daily periodontal care at home. This may necessitate making certain lifestyle changes to prevent further aggravating the disease, such as stopping tobacco use.
Gingivitis can often be controlled and treated with good oral hygiene practices and a professional cleaning. However, patients with periodontitis may require more extensive treatment, including medications, deep cleanings, and sometimes even oral surgery.
Call Us Today
If you suspect you have periodontal disease, you must act quickly. We at Montgomery County Periodontal Associates can help. Call us today at 281-404-7548 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there risk factors for periodontal disease?
There are several risk factors for periodontal disease, many of them having to do with lifestyle factors. Populations more vulnerable to periodontal disease include those who use tobacco and alcohol excessively or have poor oral hygiene. Genetics, certain medications, and some systemic diseases may also play a factor.
Is there a link between periodontal health and systemic health?
Research on periodontal health and systemic health is currently an emerging field. However, existing literature suggests that periodontitis may be associated with stroke and diabetes. It is also known that chronic inflammation lowers the body's general immunity against any kind of disease.
How can a periodontist remove plaque?
Dr. Mason will remove plaque during a scaling and root planing procedure, wherein he will clean below the gumline and smooth out any rough areas on the roots of the affected teeth. This may take one or two visits, depending on how much plaque has accumulated.
How can I take care of my oral health?
Besides brushing and flossing regularly, patients should use only a fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar and high in crunchy fruits and vegetables can also help.
How is periodontal disease diagnosed?
Dr. Mason will typically examine the jawbone to look for any loss of bone surrounding the teeth. He will also look for teeth movement, sensitivity, and alignment, along with other issues such as bleeding or swelling gums. Finally, he will check the firmness of the gums and examine the depth of the pockets.
Can children develop periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is only rarely found in children, but it can still occur. In any case, patients of all ages should learn the importance of proper oral hygiene to reduce their chances of periodontal disease in the future.
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