Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is an infection within the gums that damages the gum tissue. If left untreated, periodontitis can destroy the teeth, leading to loose teeth or permanent tooth loss. Despite being highly preventable, periodontitis is a very common condition, with an estimated 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older having some form of this gum disease. Due to the prevalence of this condition, we wanted to go into depth explaining the causes, progression, prevention, and symptoms of periodontitis to promote healthy teeth and gums.
Progression of Periodontitis
Periodontitis starts when bacteria develop into plaque and surrounds the tooth. While regular brushing and flossing can remove this plaque, it can re-form quickly. If the plaque isn’t removed effectively, it can begin to harden, forming into tartar underneath the gumline. At this stage, only a dental cleaning administered by a professional can remove tartar. If the tartar remains beneath the gum line, it can cause gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue. If the gingivitis is not reversed by a professional dental cleaning and a better dental hygiene routine, it can progress to periodontitis. At this point, the tartar build-up spreads between the teeth and gums. Over time, the bacteria, plaque, and tartar build-up become deeper and deeper, leading to damage to the gum tissue and teeth.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Healthy gums are pink in color, firm, and have a tight fit around the teeth. There are numerous symptoms of periodontitis, many of which are visible, including swollen gums that are red or purplish in color. You may also notice that your gums have begun to recede or that there are new spaces developing in between your teeth. Other symptoms of periodontitis are:
- Bad breath
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Painful chewing
- A change in your bite
- Loose teeth or teeth that fall out
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, make an appointment with Ashley Dental Associates immediately. The sooner you seek care, the more likely you are to be able to reverse damage from periodontitis.
Fortunately, periodontitis is easily preventable by maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping up with regular dentist appointments. If you have a history of gum problems or if you’re pregnant, you may want to be extra vigilant when it comes to looking out for symptoms of periodontitis. It’s especially important to look for signs of gum inflammation during pregnancy because hormonal changes in the body can be the root cause of gingivitis and periodontitis. It’s not normal to feel pain in your teeth or gums, so if you’re experiencing pain, or have noticed something about your smile that doesn’t look right, call us to make an appointment.
Contact Ashley Dental Associates
At Ashley Dental Associates in North Charleston, we treat our patients like family. For anything dental-related, including the symptoms of periodontal disease and treatment, contact Ashley Dental Associates. We are always here to provide care, information and to make recommendations for all of your dental needs. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at (843) 767-2600.