Periodontal disease is an umbrella term to describe infection or inflammation that affects the teeth and gums. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious complications that impact the entire body. For this reason, symptoms of this condition require a visit to an experienced dentist.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease often starts with gingivitis, or gum disease, an inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial growth. The first sign of gum disease is typically gums that become sore and even bleed during tooth brushing. Left untreated, this inflammation causes the gums and underlying bone to pull away from the teeth, creating crevices in which debris accumulates. This in turn leads to further infection and breakdown of the bone and connective tissue. Symptoms of the condition in later stages may include:
- Bad breath or a persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Red and swollen gums
- Receding gums, sometimes with noticeable pockets
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in bite
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Poor dental hygiene leading to plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease, but other factors play a role. For example:
- The hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause make the gums more sensitive, contributing to inflammation.
- People with certain illnesses, including diabetes, HIV and some forms of cancer, are more susceptible to gum disease.
- Smoking damages the gum tissue and contributes to inflammation and infection.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
A range of treatments exist for this condition, so our dentist will develop a customized treatment plan for you based on the extent of the damage and your overall health. Successful treatment stops the disease from progressing, allowing inflammation to recede and gums to reattach.
Having professional dental cleanings every six months is the first line of defense for gum disease. In some cases, our dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings. When periodontal disease is advanced, a special procedure utilizing laser therapy is usually required.
The best way to prevent the development of gum disease that leads to periodontitis is through good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing and frequent professional cleanings. During a consultation at Stamford Dental Group, you can learn more about symptoms, causes and treatments for periodontal disease. Contact us today to book an appointment at our office in Stamford!