Healthy gums are essential to both a healthy mouth and a healthy body. When the gums become diseased, they can deteriorate over time and, left untreated, can lead to significant problems including tooth loss.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is an infection of the gums and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth cause inflammation around the tooth. Bacteria that stay on the teeth form plaque, and plaque that is not removed eventually hardens to tartar, which is more difficult to remove without the help of a dentist.
When tartar is not addressed, the become affected. There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis typically causes red and swollen gums and can be controlled through good oral hygiene and regular cleanings. Periodontitis is more severe and requires advanced care.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Pain in the gums and teeth
- Irritation, redness, or bleeding of the gums
- Bad breath
- Visible plaque
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Receding gums (gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth)
- Loose teeth
- Change in the fit of partial dentures
While periodontal disease can lead to numerous oral health problems, it can also harm the body in other ways. Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of conditions, including certain types of cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Healthy gums, on the other hand, prevent tooth decay and tooth loss, stave off bad breath, and contribute to overall physical health. Proper dental hygiene including brushing and flossing regularly, along with regular dental visits, are critical to prevent or reverse the process of disease.
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease can be treated and reversed. Treatment options for periodontal disease include:
- Deep cleanings to remove tartar from above and below the gum line
- Root planing to remove bacteria from the root of the tooth
- Medication, such as antimicrobial mouthwash
- Surgical treatment
Cosmetic dentist Chris Reger carefully evaluates each patient to determine the appropriate care required and to ensure the long-term oral and overall health of the patient. If you have periodontal disease, he will discuss your oral health with you and explain your options for treatment.
What if I’ve Lost Teeth Due to Periodontitis?
Losing teeth can be devastating and result in decreased self-esteem. Dental implants may be used to restore lost teeth. Dental implants have both cosmetic and practical benefits: they can beautify your smile, allow you to eat normally, and promote good dental hygiene at home. As a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, Dr. Reger is an accomplished cosmetic dentist that can be relied on to provide top-of-the-line care for patients desiring dental implants. If you’ve suffered from loose teeth or the loss of teeth due to gum disease, Dr. Reger will evaluate you for dental implants and discuss the benefits and risks of implant placement with you.
If you would like more information about the treatment of periodontal disease or dental implants, please contact Dr. Reger’s practice.