Is Periodontal Disease Curable?
Periodontal disease, or the inflammation of the bone and gums that support your natural teeth, is highly prevalent in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost half of adults over 30 years of age have some form of the disease. The risk increases with age, as over 70% of adults over age 65 suffer from some form of this disease.
Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, happens when bacteria in the mouth cause infection in tissues that surround the tooth, leading to long-term disease. Typical signs of periodontitis include:
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Gums that are swollen, red, tender, or bleeding
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Pain during chewing
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
Also, a change in your bite or in the fit of dentures or bridges can signal problems with the health of your gums. However, there are things you can do to both prevent and treat periodontal disease, beginning with educating yourself on risk factors.
What are the Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease and What Comprises Preventative Care?
There are several risk factors that can predispose you to periodontal disease. These include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Crooked teeth
- Improperly fitting dentures or bridges
- Defective fillings
- Autoimmune diseases
- Medications that can cause dry mouth
- Hormonal changes
While many of these factors cannot be controlled, some can. In fact, controlling certain risk factors is the key to preventing gum disease altogether. Preventative techniques include daily brushing and flossing to remove the bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease and seeing your dentist for regular checkups. Regular checkups can catch things such as poor hygiene, improper bite patterns or crooked teeth, changes due to medications, and other factors and correct them before they begin to affect the health of your gums.
How Can I Cure or Treat Periodontal Disease?
There are many forms of periodontal disease, some of which can be reversed and some of which can require ongoing or aggressive treatment:
- Chronic gingivitis is a reversible, mild form that causes inflammation, gum bleeding, and redness. It does not involve bone loss and can be reversed.
- Aggressive periodontitis is characterized by a rapid loss of bone and the detachment of gums occurring in a short period of time.
- Chronic periodontitis progresses slowly and is considered the most common form of the disease.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease is characterized by painful, bleeding gums and a foul odor in the mouth. The odor is caused by the death of bone and gum tissue surrounding an infected tooth.
Treatments range from non-surgical to surgical, depending on the case. After your dentist reviews your medical history, conducts an examination of your mouth that includes measuring pocket depths between your gums and teeth, and taking dental X-rays, he or she will prescribe a treatment plan that can include one or more of the following:
Non-surgical Treatments for Periodontal Disease
If you have one of the milder forms of gum disease, your dentist may suggest less invasive procedures such as:
- Dental scaling: During scaling a laser or ultrasonic device is used to remove bacteria and tartar from the surface of your teeth as well as beneath your gums.
- Root planing: Root planing can help remove the byproducts of bacterial infection that can cause inflammation and contribute to delayed healing. The planing smooths the surface of the tooth’s root to reduce bacterial build up and tarter and the help foster reattachment of your gums to the surfaces of your teeth.
- Antibiotic therapy: Using antibiotics — either oral or topical — can assist in eliminating bacteria that cause infections.
Of course, you should maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen between any dental treatments for gum disease.
Surgical Treatments for Periodontal Disease
If your dentist diagnoses you with advanced periodontitis, you may need more aggressive therapies, such as flap surgery to reduce the pockets between teeth and gums and recontour bone; tissue grafts to reduce gum recession, bone grafts if periodontitis has destroyed the bone surrounding your tooth; and even leading-edge treatments such as guided tissue regeneration and tissue-stimulating proteins to help regenerate and heal.
To avoid having to go through the discomfort and expense of these more invasive treatments, use preventative measures to keep your oral hygiene in check to reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease or to ameliorate the onset of gum disease so that it can be treated using minimally invasive therapies.
Dealing with Periodontal Disease? Let Dentist of Cerritos Help!
At Dentist of Cerritos, we work hard to help manage your periodontal disease and help stop its progression so that you can retain your natural teeth and restore the health and beauty of your smile. At our Cerritos location, we offer a deep cleaning treatment that combines scaling and root planing, which we call SRP for short. It is a successful, non-surgical way to treat early to moderate periodontal disease.
After you have been diagnosed with gum disease and we have performed SRP to start you on the road to healing, we can maintain your gum health using periodontal cleanings or deep cleanings, typically once every three to four months.