The term “periodontal” refers to the tissue that surrounds your teeth—your gums. Your gums are an important part of your oral health that some patients tend to neglect. Without proper care, you may develop the periodontal (gum) disease, a common yet serious condition. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of advanced gum disease. At Michael C. Bell, DDS, PC, we are committed to keeping our patients free of periodontal disease, through education and preventative measures. For patients who suffer from periodontal disease, we offer customized treatments to restore your periodontal health.
Periodontal disease is the result of the bacteria found in dental plaque—a sticky, transparent biofilm—that forms on the surface of your teeth. If plaque is not properly removed, you may develop an infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth.
Periodontal disease is broken down into two stages, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis the beginning form of the disease that can surface as early as your teenage years. During this stage, your immune system will produce toxins to combat the bacteria. These toxins can irritate your gums and cause inflammation or damage. Gingivitis is easily treatable, reversible, and preventable. However, gingivitis is an inconspicuous disease. Many of the symptoms and warning signs may go unnoticed without regular check-ups.
Initial symptoms of periodontal disease are painless and often unobtrusive. As the disease progresses, you may begin to notice more serious evidence. Some symptoms to watch out for include:
We know that periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, but there are plenty of risk factors that can aggravate and contribute to the condition.
Patients who smoke are more likely to develop the disease. Smoking can create deeper periodontal pockets and render treatment of periodontitis ineffective.
Some patients are at risk simply because of genetics. Those with a family history of the oral disease should be diligent about their oral hygiene practices. Diabetic patients may also have a harder time fighting off the infection that causes periodontitis.
Certain prescription medications can contribute to the development of periodontal disease. Antidepressants and blood pressure medications restrict the flow of saliva, which fosters the growth of plaque and tartar.
Depending on the severity of your condition, Michael C. Bell, DDS, PC offers some treatments to eliminate or stifle the disease. Our first line of defense is usually a professional deep cleaning with the use of an ultrasonic scaler. This can eliminate the plaque, tartar, and bacteria that cause infection. In severe cases, we may need to consider other options that involve surgery.
Regardless, the best form of treatment is preventative. Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. Dr. Bell can teach you the proper techniques to implement in your daily routine.
If you would like to learn more about your periodontal health, call 512-327-7750, and schedule an appointment today.