Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 7:00am – 3:00pm | Wednesday: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Phone Number (603) 382-7100

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 7:00am – 3:00pm | Wednesday: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Phone Number (603) 382-7100

Periodontal Gum Disease
Plaistow, NH

Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious infection affecting the gums and bones that play the crucial role of supporting our teeth. Think of it as a storm that slowly brews beneath the surface, often without noticeable symptoms until its later stages.

When you understand its causes, symptoms, and consequences, you realize the importance of timely prevention and treatment.

Through this article, our goal at Plaistow Dental is to shed light on this condition and guide you on the path to a healthier smile.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Periodontitis encompasses a range of conditions that primarily impact the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.

While proper dental hygiene plays a critical role in preventing gum disease, there are a variety of underlying factors that can contribute to its development. Understanding these causes is essential for maintaining optimal oral health.

In the following sections, we will delve into the key factors that can lead to the onset and progression of gum disease, shedding light on both preventable and uncontrollable elements that can influence its development.

Plaque and Tartar

Every time we eat or drink, tiny particles combine with the natural bacteria in our mouths, forming a sticky film called plaque on our teeth. Now, regular brushing and flossing can keep plaque at bay.

However, neglecting this routine, the plaque can harden into a crusty deposit called tartar. This duo – plaque and tartar – act as the prime culprits that irritate and inflame our gums, setting the stage for gingivitis, the first act in the periodontal disease saga.

Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle and genetic elements make some of us more prone to periodontal disease.

Here are a few common culprits:

  • Smoking: Statistics reveal that smokers are up to 3 times more likely to develop gum diseases than non-smokers.
  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can increase the risk of infections, including gum diseases.
  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, etc., can make gums more sensitive.
  • Medications: Some medicines can reduce saliva flow or cause gum enlargement, both of which can harm gum health.
  • Genetic susceptibility: Yes, gum disease can run in families!
  • Poor nutrition or immune system disorders: A robust immune system and a balanced diet are the first lines of defense against infections, including those in our gums.

The Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

It’s unsettling to think that gum disease can sneakily progress from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis, often without glaring symptoms.

However, being observant can help.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath or an odd taste in your mouth
  • Receding gums that make your teeth appear longer
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Pain or sensitivity when you consume hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Telltale signs of pus or abscesses between your teeth and gums

Yet, it’s essential to note that many individuals might only spot symptoms once the disease is well advanced.

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

Our understanding of periodontal disease wouldn’t be complete without recognizing its progression stages, as identified by the American Academy of Periodontology:

Stage 1: Gingivitis:
At this stage, gums might look inflamed and bleed at the slightest provocation. But here’s the good news: no bone loss, and the damage is still reversible.

Stage 2: Slight Periodontitis:
Things get more serious when the infection dives deeper, targeting the bone and leading to some bone loss. Those tiny pockets between teeth and gums become more pronounced, deepening to 4-5 mm.

Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis:
At this stage, bone loss gets more alarming. Teeth might start wobbling in their sockets as pockets deepen to a concerning 6-7 mm.

Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis:
At this critical stage, there’s extensive bone loss. Those pockets? They’re more like trenches now, measuring more than 8 mm deep. Tooth loss is imminent, either naturally or via extraction.

The Consequences of Gum Disease

Gum disease doesn’t just harm your gums – it wages war on the very structures that hold your teeth in place.

As the disease escalates, it gradually damages:

  • Gingiva (gums): These turn from a healthy pink to an inflamed red and bleed often.
  • Periodontal ligament: This vital tissue connecting your tooth root to the bone gets weakened.
  • Alveolar bone: This portion of your jawbone that cradles the tooth sockets erodes.
  • Cementum: The protective layer covering your tooth root is compromised.

The culmination of all these damages is tooth loss. Beyond the obvious aesthetic concerns, tooth loss can affect your ability to chew and speak, ripple into appearance insecurities, and dent your self-esteem.

The Complications of Gum Disease

The battle against periodontal disease isn’t confined to your mouth.

Research has shown that the bacteria causing the disease can travel through your bloodstream and set off other health issues.

Periodontal disease is linked to several systemic health issues, emphasizing the intricate connection between oral health and overall well-being.

One notable association is with cardiovascular disease, where the presence of periodontal disease can escalate the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Moreover, the impact extends to diabetes, as periodontal disease can complicate blood sugar control and amplify other diabetic complications.

Respiratory infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis, can also become more frequent in individuals with gum disease.

The risks for pregnant women include pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia.

Additionally, people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience heightened inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness due to the influence of periodontal disease.

Emerging research points to a correlation between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease, with cognitive decline and memory loss appearing to be connected.

These associations underscore the importance of maintaining optimal oral health to mitigate the potential risks of periodontal disease.

Studies, including ones published by the American Academy of Periodontology, have emphasized the intricate connection between gum health and these systemic conditions.

The Classification of Periodontal Disease

The American Academy of Periodontology has developed a nuanced classification system, categorizing periodontal disease based on severity, progression, and impact.
Here are the seven primary categories:

  • Necrotizing periodontal diseases: Rapidly damaging conditions mostly seen in people with suppressed immune systems.
  • Periodontitis: Chronic inflammation resulting from plaque buildup.
  • Periodontal abscesses and endodontic-periodontal lesions: Infections within the gum pocket or where gum disease meets a dental issue.
  • Gingival diseases: Conditions exclusively affecting the gums.
  • Systemic conditions impacting periodontal supporting tissues: Where underlying health conditions manifest in the gums.
  • Developmental or acquired deformities and conditions: Anomalies in the oral region from birth or developed over time.
  • Traumatic occlusal forces: Damage due to external forces, like grinding teeth.

The Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease

The gum disease diagnosis encompasses a comprehensive approach that combines family history, visual inspection, and specialized evaluations.

Initially, a thorough medical and dental history is gathered to identify any prior oral issues or underlying systemic conditions.

A meticulous visual examination follows, carefully inspecting the gums, teeth, and overall oral cavity. Periodontal probing is employed to assess the extent of the disease, which entails measuring the depths of pockets around the teeth.

X-rays are crucial in capturing images that reveal any potential bone loss.

In addition to these methods, further diagnostic measures can be implemented, ranging from bacterial cultures to genetic testing or the analysis of biomarkers to gain deeper insights into the nature of the disease.

This multifaceted diagnostic approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the individual’s oral health status and aids in formulating an effective treatment plan.

The Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Tackling gum disease varies based on its stage and severity. Here’s a breakdown of treatments:

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning that removes plaque and tartar and smoothens the root surfaces.

Antibiotics may be prescribed. These fight off the infection and curb inflammation. Depending on the disease’s progression, various surgical methods can be employed:

  • Flap surgery: The gums are retracted to clean the roots and bone.
  • Bone grafting: Replacing eroded bone with natural or synthetic substitutes, such as your own body, donor, or synthetic materials.
  • Soft tissue grafting: Addressing receded gums by adding tissue.
  • Guided tissue regeneration: Aiding bone regeneration by placing a mesh between the bone and gum.
  • Dental implants: Inserting artificial tooth roots as a foundation for replacement teeth.

It’s vital to note that severe cases might necessitate multiple visits or even a specialized touch by a periodontist. Whatever the condition, your oral health is paramount, and it’s never too late to seek help!

How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

Preventing gum disease isn’t a Herculean task. By embracing good oral hygiene practices and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can put a robust shield against this oral adversary.

Here’s your daily action plan to fend off periodontal disease:

  • Brushing: A two-minute ritual twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush ensures your teeth remain plaque-free and gleaming.
  • Flossing: A daily rendezvous with dental floss eliminates sneaky plaque and food particles that think they can hide between your teeth and below the gum line.
  • Rinsing: An antiseptic mouthwash is your ally in reducing the bacterial count in your mouth, ultimately curbing inflammation.
  • Regular dental visits: Nothing beats a professional’s touch. Regular checkups and professional cleanings ensure plaque and tartar don’t overstay their welcome.
  • Not smoking: Whether it’s quitting smoking or evading secondhand smoke, your gums will thank you for keeping tobacco at bay.
  • Managing chronic conditions: If you have diabetes or other conditions affecting your gums, regular monitoring and management are crucial.
  • Eating right: A diet that’s a melange of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber fortifies not just your body but also your oral health.
  • Staying hydrated: Water isn’t just for quenching thirst. A hydrated mouth flushes out lingering food particles and bacteria.

Gum Disease Treatment at Plaistow Dental

Periodontal disease, while pervasive, doesn’t have to be your reality. The importance of early detection and intervention can’t be overstated. It’s a malady that creeps in silently but can roar if left unchecked. Whether it’s embracing preventive measures or seeking prompt care when symptoms arise, every step counts.

If you’ve reached this point and are pondering your gum health, let the experienced hands at Plaistow Dental Clinic guide you. With over 30 years of dentistry expertise, we’re here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide top-tier care.

Ready for a periodontal evaluation or simply craving more information? We’re just a call or click away! Book an appointment online or call us today at (603) 382-7100. Remember, your smile is worth it, and so is the health beneath it. Take action today!