Periodontitis is a severe infection of the gums. The basic cause is an accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and gums. Periodontitis can eventually cause damages on your bones and teeth if it is left unattended to. Periodontitis can lead to pulling away of the gum tissues which can result to formation of pockets where additional germs can then begin to build up and cause problems of infection. Early diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance of good oral hygiene can, however, go a long way in stopping the damage.
Stages of Periodontitis
Periodontitis can occur in different stages. It will usually start as an inflammation and then progress to a more dire stage with time. Let’s consider the stages of periodontitis below.
1. Inflammation (Gingivitis) – The first manifestation of periodontitis is as an inflammation of the gums otherwise referred to as gingivitis. A really early signal of this is that you experience bleeding when you are brushing or when flossing your teeth. Another signal is the discoloration of your teeth because of plaque formation. Plaque occurs when bacteria and food debris builds up on your teeth. There is always a presence of bacteria in the mouth but they can only pose a threat when they are allowed to grow exponentially due to favorable conditions. Lack of proper oral hygiene through adequate brushing and flossing or failure to regularly go for dental cleanings can contribute to bacteria growth spurt.
2. Early Periodontal Disease – The early stages of periodontitis will cause noticeable reversing of the gumline or pulling away from the teeth leading to pocket formation between the teeth and gums. These pockets, in turn, serve as a conducive habitat for harmful bacteria. Receding of the gumlines occurs as your immune system tries to tackle the resultant infection. Bleeding and bone loss is likely to be experienced at this stage as well.
3. Moderate Periodontal Disease – In addition to bleeding and gum recession, you will experience pain if you leave your periodontitis to progress to the moderate periodontal disease stage. Bone support will be lost and the teeth will start becoming loose. Also, an inflammatory response can occur throughout your body because of the infection.
4. Advanced Periodontal Disease – A deterioration of the connective tissue holding the teeth begins to occur at this stage. Bones, gums, and also other tissues that provide support for your teeth becomes destroyed at this stage. In addition to serious pains that you will experience while chewing, you will also experience a foul taste in your mouth and serious bad breath. Most of all, you might experience tooth loss.
Causes of Periodontitis
Since a large number of bacteria can be found in the mouth, they can grow, and then build up on the teeth. So basically, the issue that causes periodontitis is a lack of proper oral hygiene. Failure to adequately brush, floss and clean areas that are hard to reach can result in the following:
- Growth and multiplication of bacteria in the mouth leading to the formation of dental plaque.
- Deposition of minerals on the plaque by the bacteria (tartar) as time goes on. This tartar boosts the growth of bacteria especially towards the root of the tooth.
- The immune system of your body will respond to this bacteria attack and it will, in turn, lead to gum inflammation.
- A pocket may form between the root of the tooth and the gum due to disruption of the attachment over a time period.
- The pockets become a perfect environment for harmful bacteria to multiply and they will in turn release toxins that can lead to the destruction of the supporting bone structure, the teeth, and gums.
There are also other factors that can put one at a higher risk and cause periodontal disease. Some of these factors include;
- Smoking – This has turned out to be one of the biggest risk factors for periodontal disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Hormonal changes that occur in women (inclusive of menstrual periods, during pregnancy, or when menopause occurs), can result in an increase of sensitivity of the gums
- Conditions that can have a dire impact on your immune systems such as leukemia or HIV
- Drugs and medications that can cause a reduction in the saliva flow of your mouth
- Improper nutrition deficient of vitamin C
Symptoms of Periodontitis
The symptoms of periodontitis are usually dependent on what stage the disease is, but generally, the periodontitis symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums when you floss or brush
- Changes in teeth position or loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Red, tender, swollen gums
- Noticeable buildup of tartar or plaque on your teeth
- Tooth Loss
- Pain When Chewing
- Noticeable foul taste in your mouth
- Inflammatory response that occurs throughout the body
In the early stages of periodontitis, the periodontitis symptoms may not be easily noticed and may likely be noticed by your emergency dentist first.
How to Treat Periodontitis?
The periodontitis treatment is generally performed in two different ways-
- Surgical periodontitis treatment
- Nonsurgical periodontitis treatment
Surgical Periodontitis Treatment
If you do not react on time, then your periodontitis may flow towards an advanced stage and then you will not able to evade the surgical treatments. Some options are available for surgical periodontitis treatment include-
- Soft Tissue Grafts
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- Flap Surgery
- Tissue-Stimulating Proteins
- Bone Grafting
Nonsurgical Periodontitis Treatment
If the gum disease is not up to its advanced stage, then you need to act fast and do the treatment with the nonsurgical procedure. Few options available are-
- Root Planing