Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a chronic infection of the gums that destroys the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. The bacteria from plaque and tartar buildup inflame the gum tissues, causing them to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with more bacteria and pus. Over time, these pockets become deeper, more numerous, and more inflamed. Eventually, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw deteriorates, so teeth become loose and may need to be removed or fall out on their own.
Other consequences of gum disease include bad breath, bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, receding gums, shifting teeth, tooth loss, changes in bite alignment, and even systemic health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Visit Torrey Hills Family Dentistry for the best dental care.
The Causes of Periodontal Disease
Several things can cause periodontal disease, but the most common is plaque buildup. The plaque sits on the teeth and hardens to form tartar. If left untreated, this can lead to gum inflammation or gingivitis. This is because when your gums are inflamed, they can no longer effectively fight off infection. This can lead to other complications, including tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.
The Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Bad breath is one of the most common symptoms, but it isn’t always apparent to everyone around you. It just means you have a problem with your gums and plaque buildups, and food particles have collected below your gum line. If you can see or taste the debris, that’s an even more apparent symptom. You may also notice red, swollen gums when they bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Bleeding gums can be a symptom of gingivitis, but it doesn't mean you're in the clear even if you don’t have this symptom yet.
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
One of the most common treatments for periodontal disease is scaling and root planning. This deep cleaning method is designed to remove the plaque and tartar buildup on the roots. The goal is to reduce gum inflammation, remove disease-causing bacteria, and promote healing.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, surgery may be needed to treat it. Surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing any tartar or bacteria deposits. The tissue is then sutured back into place so that the tissue fits snugly around your teeth again. Medications may also be prescribed to fight the infection and help your mouth heal more effectively.
Get in touch with Torrey Hills Family Dentistry at 4765 Carmel Mountain Rd Suite 209, San Diego, CA 92130, or call (858) 481-0080 to schedule a consultation with our dentist as soon as possible to learn more about treatment options for gum disease.