Periodontitis Disease: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Periodontitis Disease: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Did you know that periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults? The condition affects the periodontium and the supporting tissues, bones and ligaments around the teeth. When left to progress, it causes the alveolar bone in the jaw area to degenerate and eventually results to tooth loss. It also increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and other secondary health conditions.

The term periodontitis means having inflammation around the tooth. it is the name given to the advanced stage of periodontal disease and is sometimes also called gum disease. And although it often goes on unnoticed or with very subtle symptoms, the obvious indicator is when the gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where bacteria can hide.

Causes

Ordinarily, your mouth is packed with different types of bacteria, both good and bad. When you clean your teeth through brushing and flossing regularly, you reduce the growth and build-up of harmful bacteria. However, if you have poor oral hygiene, the bacteria in your mouth multiplies and forms a substance known as plaque on the teeth’s surface. If the plaque is not removed it turns to tartar which is much more difficult to reduce through brushing. Tartar encourages more bacteria growth especially toward the roots of the teeth. The body’s immune system then responds by causing the gums to become inflamed, a condition known as gingivitis. Over time, the inflammation disrupts the attachment of the gum to the root, causing a gap known as a periodontal pocket to form. If untreated, toxic anaerobic bacteria inhabit the pockets and releases toxins that can damage the teeth, gums and supporting bone structure.

Risk Factors

Besides poor oral hygiene, other factors that can contribute to periodontal disease include:

  • Hormonal changes such during pregnancy, monthly periods and at menopause that make gums more sensitive
  • Illnesses that interfere with the immune system such as HIV, cancer and diabetes
  • Certain medications that reduce flow of saliva in the mouth thus limiting its protective effect on teeth and gums
  • Smoking
  • Family history of the condition.

Diagnosis

The dentists at KK Dental in New Jersey recommend that you go for regular dental check-ups in order to catch any signs of periodontitis early. Since plaque and tartar form the foundation for the disease, if present, your teeth will be professionally cleaned to remove these substances. A tiny ruler-like instrument called a prone is then used to measure any pockets on the gums. Dental x-rays may also be taken to evaluate the condition of your jaw bone. If need be, you will be referred to a periodontist for proper diagnosis and testing and treatment. There are various stages of periodontitis and once an assessment has been made, you will know what phase you are in the complexity of treatment needed.

Treatment

The objective of periodontal treatment is to get rid of bacteria from the pockets around the teeth so that there is no further damage of the bone and tissues.

  • Non-Surgical Treatments
  • Used in the initial and mid stages of gum disease.

    • Scaling: Gets rid of tartar and bacteria from the tooth’s surface and beneath the gums.
    • Root Planing: This procedure smoothens the root surface to discourage buildup of bacteria and tartar. It also eliminates bacterial by-products play a role in the inflammation of the gums as well as delayed healing.
    • Antibiotics: You may be prescribed topical or oral antibiotics to kill the infection-causing bacteria.
  • Surgical Treatments
  • For advanced periodontitis, surgical intervention is needed.

    • Flap Surgery: It is done in order to reduce the size of periodontal pockets or to remove calculus hiding in the pockets. Involves lifting the gums to remove the tartar and the suturing them back in place.
    • Bone and Soft Tissue Grafts: These are procedures aimed at regenerating destroyed gum tissue or bone. Natural or synthetic materials are used.
    • Guided Tissue Regeneration: This is the use of barrier membranes to direct new bone and tissue to grow at certain points where they are missing. The procedure repairs defects caused by the disease.
    • Tissue-Stimulating Proteins: A diseased tooth is coated in a special gel that contains the same proteins present in tooth enamel, which encourages growth of healthy bone and tissue
  • Home remedies

The best home remedy for periodontitis is to practice good dental hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice every day with each session lasting for 2 minutes. Also floss daily and if possible, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Seeing the dentist at least once a year for regular check-up and professionally cleaning will also help control periodontitis. If you smoke or use tobacco products, consider quitting.

Call Now Book Appointment