What is periodontal disease?

dental pain

Periodontal disease is quite common in the United States. In fact, there are an estimated three million people in the U.S. who suffer from this disease. Periodontal disease must be diagnosed by a professional and is not something that you should try to treat at home. People who have periodontal disease should get to the dentist as soon as possible to begin healing.

What is periodontal disease?

Simply put, periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the tissues in the mouth, including the gums and teeth. Over time this disease can progress into the jaw bone. As a result, those in more advanced stages of the disease will experience a horrible stench in their breath, teeth that fall out, and bleeding gums.

What are the stages of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease occurs in three stages. The latter two stages are the worst, however, if caught early in the first stage you can reverse the disease.

In the first stage, which is typically brought on by poor oral hygiene, the gums are red and bleeding. This is because the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth causes the gums to loosen where they should be tight around your teeth.

Once a person progresses to the second stage of the disease this is known as having periodontitis. At this point the disease cannot be reversed, however, it can be managed and prevented from not progressing. The decay in this stage is typically the result of food getting stuck in pockets that have formed in the gums due to the loosening that occurred in the first stage.

To treat this stage we usually do a scaling and root planing treatment, which removes bacteria down to the dentin. Once this is completed the patient needs to stick to a solid oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting cleanings twice a year.

The third and final stage of periodontal disease is also called advanced periodontitis. This stage is the worst and costs the most to treat. This is because a person’s teeth are usually falling out, there’s extreme bone loss that requires bone grafts to treat, and prosthetics like dentures or implants.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to start by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Brush regularly, floss, and see Dr. Laudie for twice yearly cleanings. This allows us to monitor your oral health and take note of any changes before they advance too far.

Give us a call to schedule your cleaning or an exam. These are an important part of ensuring your mouth is in the best health possible.