Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) – Symptoms And Treatment

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is a severe form of gum disease.  Gum disease starts off as gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums.  If left untreated, gingivitis can then progress to periodontal disease, which is inflammation of the gums and bone which support the teeth.  In severe cases of periodontal disease, this loss of bone can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal Disease Symptoms

Some symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Purple or red swollen gums
  • Gums which are painful or tender
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing teeth
  • Teeth which have shifted or are loose
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Periodontal pockets, which are the gaps between the teeth and the gums.  This area collects plaque and can cause the gums to become inflamed and infected.  The depth of the periodontal pockets will be measured by your dentist to determine the severity of your gum disease.

How To Treat Periodontal Disease

The aim of treating periodontal disease is to :

  • Help the gums reattach to the teeth
  • Reduce swelling of the gums
  • Reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets
  • Lessen the risk of infection
  • Stop the gum disease from worsening.

The way to treat gum disease is to clean away tartar, both from above and below the gums.  This may be done by a dental hygienist or a gum specialist, called a periodontist.  Any bone loss caused by gum disease cannot be reversed.  However, having the appropriate treatment can stop bone loss from continuing.  You may need to have your teeth cleaned more frequently than the usual twice per year.  It may need to be done as often as every 3 months or so.

No matter how often you have your teeth professionally cleaned, you will still need to look after them at home.  Diligently brushing and flossing your teeth every day will help stop periodontal disease from becoming more severe.  Small brushes, such as TePe Interdental Brushes, may also be needed to clean between your teeth.  A medicated mouthwash may also be recommended to you by your dental professional.