Understanding Periodontal Disease Your Questions AnsweredWelcome to Arcadia Perio‘s blog! As specialists in periodontal health, we’re here to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. This condition affects many individuals but often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe. Our goal is to educate you on the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention of periodontal disease, and to answer some of the most common questions our patients ask.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. In its early stage, known as gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is often caused by plaque buildup. If not treated, this can progress to more severe forms of periodontal disease, where the gums pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may eventually become loose or fall out.

Causes and Risk Factors

The primary cause of periodontal disease is plaque, a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria. When plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue, leading to periodontal disease. Other factors that can contribute include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Genetics
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Crooked teeth that are hard to clean

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

It’s vital to recognize the signs of periodontal disease early. They include:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

Treatment Options

Treatment for periodontal disease varies depending on the severity of the condition. Options include:

  • Professional cleaning: In the early stages, removing plaque and tartar can help manage the condition.
  • Scaling and root planing: This is a deep-cleaning, non-surgical procedure where plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing).
  • Medications: Various medications can be used to treat periodontal disease, including antibiotics to reduce the bacteria around the gums.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery might be necessary to restore supportive tissues.

Preventive Measures

Preventing periodontal disease involves regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices, including:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Using mouthwash to reduce plaque bacteria
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing health conditions such as diabetes

Q&A Section

Q: Can periodontal disease be completely cured?

A: While periodontal disease can be managed and its progression halted, the damage it may cause can be irreversible. Regular dental visits and maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent it from worsening.

Q: Is periodontal disease contagious?

A: The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can be spread through saliva, which means it’s theoretically possible to spread these bacteria to someone else through kissing or sharing eating utensils, although this is not a primary mode of transmission.

Q: How often should I visit a dentist if I have periodontal disease?

A: Patients with periodontal disease might need to see their dentist more frequently than the biannual visits recommended for people with good oral health. Your dentist might suggest a treatment schedule that includes more frequent cleanings and check-ups.

Q: Does periodontal disease affect overall health?

A: Yes, research has shown links between periodontal disease and other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. Managing your oral health can benefit your overall health.

We hope this blog post has enhanced your understanding of periodontal disease. If you have any more questions or need to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us at Arcadia Perio. Your health is our top priority!

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