Periodontal disease involves the gums and structures immediately around our teeth. It comes in many forms and can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common symptoms of periodontal disease are puffy or inflammed gums, bleeding of the gums and halitosis (bad breath). The disease can be localized to a certain area in the mouth or it can encompass the entire mouth. Periodontal disease often remains silent until more advanced stages so having regular checkups and professional cleanings is important to monitor if any disease is occurring. When periodontal disease is present and untreated for an extended period of time the outcome can be loss of bone, change in your bite, tooth mobility and infection. Periodontal disease is also associated with heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Although most forms of the disease are caused by poor oral hygiene and lifestyle choices, periodontal disease can occur as a result of certain systemic diseases as well as hormonal changes. It is not uncommon to have periodontal disease during puberty and for women during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause. A higher incidence of periodontal disease is seen with individuals who have diabetes. By far, most cases of periodontal disease occur in individuals who do not brush and floss regularly and thoroughly.
Depending on the severity of the periodontal disease, a number of treatments can be performed including scaling and root planing, direct administration of antibiotics, pocket reduction and gum surgery. Much of the time if there is bone loss due to periodontal disease, the treatment will stop the bone loss from progressing but will not bring it back to its original level. More frequent professional cleanings are needed and regular, thorough home care is prudent.