If a recent visit to the dentist has revealed that you have periodontitis, you may be wondering what this means for your oral health, and if there is anything you can do to halt or even reverse the disease. If periodontitis is detected early enough in the first stage, known as gingivitis, it may be possible to reverse the effects through an improved oral hygiene routine at home, and with regular professional cleanings. However, once periodontitis has become chronic, it can be much harder to manage and may lead to tooth loss. Let’s go over what periodontitis is, what symptoms to watch for, and what management of periodontitis looks like.
Understanding What Periodontitis Is & What Causes It
Periodontitis is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, known as the periodontium. The main cause of periodontitis is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Normally this plaque is removed with regular brushing and flossing, but if poor oral hygiene routines are at play, not only can it spread below the gum line and induce a chronic inflammatory response from your body, but it can harden into tartar or calculus. Once hardened, it can only be removed via a professional cleaning at a dentist’s office.
While anyone can develop periodontitis, certain factors may increase your risk, such as:
- Having a family history of periodontitis/genetics.
- Having a poor diet that lacks nutrients.
- Taking certain medications that cause dry mouth.
- Being under a lot of stress.
- Regularly using alcohol, drugs, or smoking.
- Going through hormonal changes.
- Aging or going through pregnancy.
- Having certain illnesses that impact oral health, like diabetes.
What You Need to Know About Symptoms & Severe Cases
In the early stages of periodontitis, there may be no symptoms at all, or a very few that go unnoticed. However, as periodontitis progresses, you may experience the following:
- Changes to the alignment of your teeth or bite.
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums.
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing.
- Loose teeth.
- Bad breath and visible pus.
- You may have pain when biting down or chewing food.
- Receding gums that give way to new spaces between teeth.
If you notice any of these symptoms, book yourself in for a periodontal exam immediately to have your gums and teeth assessed. This will help determine if you have periodontitis, at what stage the disease is in, and what treatments may be the most effective for you.
Managing Periodontitis: Slowing Progression & Possible Remission
If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontitis, the first step is to develop a treatment management plan that matches the extent and nature of the stage you’re in. In a mild or moderate case, non-surgical treatments like regular brushing and flossing, eating a healthy diet, having regular dental cleanings, and fixing poorly fitting crowns or bridges may be enough to put the disease into remission.
In more severe cases, it may be recommended to take certain medications like antibiotics to help get the infection under control. While there is no direct cure for periodontitis, proper management can slow down its progression, and in some cases, put it into remission. However, it’s important to know that periodontitis management is a life-long endeavor, and if at any point in time it goes untreated, it can continue to progress.
How We Can Help You
At Family, Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients achieve and maintain good oral health. If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontitis, we can develop a customized treatment plan that is designed around the full management of the disease. This means tackling it with more frequent dental cleanings, scaling and root planing, and exams, as well as, providing you with better tips on how to handle it while at home. If you’ve had serious damage done to your teeth, our cosmetic surgical options may be a great fit for improving your smile.
To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.