Periodontitis Overview

Gum disease is one of the most common infectious diseases affecting the general population.  Almost everyone is likely to have some form of gum disease at some point in their life but most people don’t often take gum disease seriously. They notice some redness or swelling, start brushing and flossing properly, the symptoms go down, and they go back to what they were doing before.

Yet untreated gum disease can turn into something quite serious, called Periodontitis or Periodontal disease. What is Periodontitis, and why is it so bad? Let’s have a look.

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is when gum disease advances to the point where it affects the bone. The infection starts to eat away at the jawbone, causing complications. Periodontal disease literally means disease of the bone.

This is an advanced form of infection, and it is rarely possible to truly cure it. Instead, patients who have periodontitis will require ongoing care and observation to ensure the disease doesn’t return in a major outbreak again.

What Are The Effects Of Periodontitis?

The main concern with periodontitis is that it starts to deteriorate the jawbone. This can result in a range of complications, including:

  • Teeth becoming unstable in their sockets.
  • Teeth falling out or needing extraction.
  • Infection of the root canal of a tooth, requiring either a root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth.
  • Infection reaching the blood stream and travelling into the body, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health complications.
(A) Teeth from a chronic periodontal patient presented dental calculus, gingival recession and attachment loss. (B) Molar tooth showed in (A) extracted due to advanced periodontal disease involvement.
Image Credits Wikimedia

How To Treat Periodontitis

Periodontitis requires what’s known as a “deep scale and clean” to treat. It’s different to the check and clean you normally get at the dentist.

Typically it involves scraping plaque and tartar not just from the surface of the tooth above the gum, but also removing infected tissue below the gum line. This infected tissue creates “Pockets” between a tooth and the gum, which weakens the structural support of the tooth. Cleaning out the infection allows the pocket to heal back in place, restoring the health of the mouth.

How To Prevent Periodontitis

The easiest way to prevent periodontitis is to take good care of your oral health. This includes regular brushing and flossing, and regular twice a year checkups at the dentist.

Brushing and flossing will help to prevent gum disease, or gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease. The check and cleans at the dentist, known as oral prophylaxis, helps to remove plaque and tartar from around the teeth and gum line which you can’t remove at home. You need a dentist or oral hygienist to take care of it.

How do we treat periodontal disease

Noting some redness or swelling on your gums? Realised it’s been a while since your last clean? Contact our clinic today so we can help restore your mouth to a happy, healthy state!

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