Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a major disease affecting the gums of a person. It is an inflammatory condition which affects the gums surrounding the teeth, which would eventually progress onto the jawbone if left untreated. When the plaque and tartar accumulate on the surface of the teeth, they infect the nearby gums as well. This would lead to a condition called gingivitis. When gingivitis become severe, it leads to periodontitis.
Types of periodontal diseases
- Chronic periodontitis: It is characterized by the recession of gums and deeper pockets. If you find the length of your teeth to be increasing, it is actually the receding of the gums below the normal gum level. Sometimes, one may experience rapid spreading of the disease and loss of gum tissue as well.
- Aggressive periodontitis: It's characterized by loss gum tissue and also the bone. It is hard to notice and can easily affect an individual who seems very healthy.
- Necrotizing periodontitis: Necrosis is the death of the tissues of the body. This type of periodontitis is seen in patients who're suffering from diseases such as HIV and immunosuppression. Tissue death occurs in the gingiva (gums).
- Sometimes, periodontitis is caused due to other systemic diseases such as respiratory infection, heart diseases, and diabetes.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
- Bleeding gums: The gums would start to bleed with no particular reason, such as external trauma. Bleeding is usually experienced while brushing, flossing, chewing food, etc. It is caused due to the toxins in the accumulated plaque.
- Pain: You may experience pain in the gums while brushing or chewing food.
- Redness and swelling: The gums may appear swollen and red. Sometimes, there may be a discharge of puss from them.
- Receding gums: The toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque and tartar destroy the supporting tissue and cause the gums to recede.
- Loosening of teeth from the sockets: This is a symptom that shows that the disease is progressing rapidly. The teeth may loosen from their sockets as a result of bone loss. This makes the teeth drift from their position in the sockets.
- Bad breath: Periodontitis causes the gum pockets to become deeper. This makes a place for the bacteria to colonize. Also, debris from the food that we eat can get stuck between the teeth and in the gum pockets, which would lead to a foul odor.
How can periodontitis be treated?
- Scaling and root planning: Scaling is a process of removing the accumulated plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth. Root planing is deep cleaning, where the plaque and tartar are removed from the root surface. Root planning has been found to be highly effective when it comes to treating periodontitis.
- Gum surgery: The recession of gums can be treated by a gum graft. In this procedure, healthy gum tissue will be extracted from a different part of the mouth and grafted to the infected area.
- Pocket reduction surgery: This eliminates deep pockets which exist between the teeth and the gums. It prevents the accumulation of the bacteria in the pockets. It can be achieved in two ways; either a gingival flap surgery or by a laser treatment.