Periodontitis: A Guide to Treating Gum Disease
Treat your periodontitis before it progresses.
Gum disease is a widespread problem, and unfortunately, it is one that can sneak up on you, as it typically doesn’t present signs or symptoms until it is nearly too late. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of American adults 30 years of age or older show signs of gum disease. Furthermore, approximately 9% of adults have severe gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis. For this reason, many people underestimate how severe gum disease can be, and as a result, don’t seek the treatment they need at a time when we can still reverse the effects.
What does it mean to receive a periodontitis diagnosis?
If your dentist informed you that you have periodontitis, you’re probably scratching your head wondering what that means. What is periodontitis? How did I miss the signs and symptoms? What are the causes of periodontal disease? The truth is you’re not alone. Here is what you need to know if you receive a periodontitis diagnosis.
So what does this periodontitis diagnosis mean for you? Periodontitis is the severe inflammation of your gums. When left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Depending on the severity of your gum disease, you may feel pain or discomfort and have bad breath. You may also notice a bad taste in your mouth or your teeth may seem longer than they used to. You could also experience localized swelling or abscesses with pus.
Assessing your gums at home can help you indicate if something is going on, but there is no way to evaluate whether the anchoring structures of your tooth have experienced damage from gum inflammation at home. Further, you can’t detect the depth of your gum pockets on your own. The only way to diagnose periodontitis is via an examination by your dentist. If periodontitis is suspected, X-rays are usually taken to assess the impact on your jawbone.
Treating periodontitis involves the same routines and habits as preventing it in the first place. Practice good hygiene at home and visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and oral examination.
At home, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a dentist-recommended toothpaste for healthy teeth and gums. In the least, brush your teeth after breakfast and before you go to bed. Floss between your teeth at least once daily, preferably at bedtime or after meals. Finally, rinse your mouth with a fluoridated mouthwash.
But in addition to practicing good oral care at home, periodontitis requires professional intervention. These treatments generally consist of a combination of nonsurgical and surgical approaches.
Nonsurgical Periodontal Disease Treatment
If your gum disease hasn’t advanced to a more serious stage, nonsurgical periodontal disease treatment might be effective. Typical nonsurgical treatments include:
- Scaling removes tartar and bacteria buildup from your teeth and beneath your gums. Your dentist may use a dental scaler, laser, or ultrasonic device to achieve this.
- Root planing smooths the surfaces of your tooth roots to prevent further buildup of tartar and bacteria. This process also helps reduce inflammation and can accelerate healing.
- Antibiotics in either oral or topical form help prevent the spread of bacteria. Oral antibiotics are often used to eliminate infection-causing bacteria. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic mouthwash or a gel you can apply to the spaces between your teeth and gums.
Surgical Periodontal Disease Treatment
If your gum disease has advanced to a further stage, surgical treatment may be necessary and is often used in conjunction with noninvasive treatment, such as scaling and antibiotics. Typical surgery may include pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue or bone grafts, tissue-stimulating proteins, or guided tissue regeneration. The specific surgical periodontal disease treatment needed will vary from patient to patient and will be explicitly determined based on your symptoms and the illness’s severity.
See your dentist in Wilson, NC, to discuss the best gum disease treatment for you.
If you are experiencing some of the signs or symptoms of gum disease, such as bad breath, pain when chewing, receding gums, loose adult teeth, or tender, swollen, red, or bleeding gums, it is imperative to visit your dentist right away. As we mentioned earlier, once these symptoms start to present themselves, it is often too late to remedy at home, and you will require ongoing periodontal disease treatment.
Start by requesting an appointment today with Dixon, Boles & Associates. We’ve provided patients in the Greenville, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, and Wilson, NC, communities with the best in family, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry since 1974. And we’re experts at helping our patients prevent gum disease and treat periodontal disease when necessary. We look forward to partnering with you to help your mouth get healthier again.