Periodontal (Gum) Disease


a patient smiling after her periodontal disease treatment at Aesthetic Dentistry of Bend
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that causes chronic inflammation of your gums, as well as the surrounding tissues, including your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. Periodontal disease is a common condition that can, without treatment, lead to tooth loss and other serious issues. Aesthetic Dentistry of Bend can help.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

There are several different causes of periodontal disease. These include:
•  Poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing every day, in addition to routine cleanings and exams, are critical habits for keeping your mouth healthy. Neglecting these habits leads to a buildup of plaque and bacteria that can then lead to periodontal disease.
•  Crooked teeth. Crooked teeth provide hiding places for bacteria that are more difficult to clean thoroughly.
•  Tobacco use. Tobacco products, such as cigarettes, restrict blood flow, slowing the delivery of essential nutrients to your gums to keep them healthy. These products also affect your immune system, lowering your ability to fight off infections.
•  Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition in which there is not enough saliva in your mouth. It leaves your mouth feeling dry and tacky, and your mouth becomes the perfect environment for bacterial growth. This can be caused by many things, including certain types of medications and excessive alcohol consumption.
•  Hormonal changes. Changes in your hormones can affect how well your body can fight off infections. Common changes in hormones that can increase your risk for periodontal disease include pregnancy and menopause.
•  Nutritional deficiencies. Lacking essential nutrients affects the health of your gums, and can also make it more difficult to fight off infections.
•  Genetics. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to developing periodontal disease.

The Progression of Periodontal Disease

When periodontal disease first begins, it is barely noticeable. Many do not even know that there is anything wrong. Bacteria irritate your gums, which triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. The gums swell. Swollen tissue begins to pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets. Bacteria starts collecting in these pockets, continuing to attack the gums from the inside. They even begin attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, causing these supportive structures to weaken. Untreated, periodontal disease can ultimately lead to tooth loss and serious health complications.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

There are several symptoms that can indicate periodontal disease. The exact symptoms you experience depend on how advanced the condition is. Symptoms include:
•  Red, swollen gums. Your gums may also bleed when you brush and floss.
•  Gum recession.
•  The formation of small gaps between your teeth.
•  Tooth sensitivity.
•  Chronic bad breath.
•  Loose teeth.
•  Tooth loss.

How is Periodontal Disease Treated?

There are many treatments available for periodontal disease. These treatments include:
•  Prophylaxis. This a regular cleaning of your teeth and can often treat the earliest stage of periodontal disease.
•  Scaling and root planing, or deep cleaning of your teeth. With this treatment, we carefully remove all buildup from every surface of your teeth, both above and below the gumline.
•  Pocket reduction surgery, which is performed to clean your teeth when periodontal pockets are too deep for scaling and root planing.
•  Osseous surgery. This procedure is performed when bacteria have caused bony defects in your jawbone. It is often performed in conjunction with pocket reduction surgery.

If you notice symptoms of periodontal disease, it is imperative that you seek treatment as soon as possible. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Aesthetic Dentistry of Bend at (541) 389-0261 today.
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