What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. Studies show that over 45% of Americans have this disease. Maintaining good periodontal health is essential to your oral health and overall wellbeing. This is because periodontal disease, which is also called gum disease, is linked to health issues like heart disease and diabetes.

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Good oral hygiene habits can help to prevent gum disease and keep your smile health. Dr. Chetan Parikh, our experienced dentist, recommends that you follow these basic guidelines:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss at least once every day
  • Use a tongue cleaner to remove bacteria every day
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Visit our dental office at least twice every year for a regular dental cleaning and exam
  • Eliminate or reduce activities that may cause periodontal disease, including steroid use, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse

What are the risk factors for periodontal disease?

The risk factors of periodontal disease include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Tobacco use (including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Ill-fitting bridges
  • Overlapping and crooked teeth
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Deteriorated or defective fillings
  • Some types of medications such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, sex hormones, and oral contraceptives

Just as various factors may increase your risk, periodontal disease may be linked to several health conditions, including respiratory conditions, heart disease, and more.

What are the stages of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease progresses through several stages.

  • Healthy: the gums are pink in color and do not bleed, and the gum line tightly hugs the teeth.
  • Gingivitis: the gums bleed easily when brushed or gently probed during an exam, and they are inflamed and sensitive to touch. You may experience bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, and the gums between teeth may look blush-red in color.
  • Early periodontitis: the gums recede and teeth look longer, and bleeding, puffiness, and swelling are more pronounced. The front teeth may begin to drift apart, and bad breath and bad taste are common.
  • Moderate periodontitis: periodontal abscesses develop, and the gums recede and teeth look longer. The front teeth may begin to drift, showing spaces. Pockets between the teeth and gums expand. These pockets are called periodontal pockets.
  • Advanced periodontitis: the teeth may become mobile or loose, and bad breath and bad taste are constant. The tooth roots may be exposed, becoming sensitive to hot and cold. Severe bone loss is noticeable on X-Rays, and the pockets between teeth and gums deepen.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Symptoms of periodontal disease may include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Sore gums that bleed easily
  • Receding gums that detach from the teeth
  • Tooth pain when chewing and biting
  • Sensitive teeth

How do you treat periodontal disease?

We provide treatment for gum disease in Rockville, Maryland, to improve your oral health. The main aims of periodontal treatment are to repair or reverse the effects of gum disease, reduce the risk of tooth loss, and prevent recurrence. Periodontal treatment may include:

  • Professional dental cleanings
  • Periodontal maintenance (thorough dental cleanings every three to four months)
  • Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning techniques that clean both the teeth and the tooth roots)
  • Use of an antibiotic drug to reduce bacteria
  • Implementation of a daily oral hygiene treatment plan
  • Surgical repair of the gums
  • Removal of a severely damaged tooth

If you believe that you may suffer from periodontal disease, we encourage you to contact us today at Chetan Parikh, DMD, MDS to schedule your visit with Dr. Chetan Parikh!