Periodontitis is a type of gum disease in which an infection causes damage to the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. If periodontitis is not treated, it could lead to tooth loss. But what causes periodontitis, and how do you know if you have it?
Causes of Periodontitis
There are a number of causes of periodontitis, including:
- Gum disease from plaque and tartar buildup
- Poor oral hygiene
- Systemic diseases, including diabetes
- Certain dietary habits
This disease most often affects adults aged 30 to 60, but some younger children can also be affected. People with other inflammatory diseases are more at risk of developing periodontitis. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
A common feature of periodontitis is that it progresses slowly and usually goes undetected until it reaches an advanced stage.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Symptoms of periodontitis often go unnoticed and are normally not painful. There are mild forms of this disease that have no symptoms at all. However, there are more severe forms of the disease that require immediate treatment.
Common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Loss of your gums
- Unexplained increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth or loose teeth that do not touch each other
- Soreness of the jaw
- Gums that bleed easily
Fever, throat pain, and swelling of the tissues surrounding the tooth are also signs of more advanced periodontitis.
How Is Periodontitis Treated?
If you suspect that you or your loved one has periodontitis or is showing symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will examine the soft tissue surrounding your teeth and the bone tissue just under the gums. They will also examine the teeth for any signs of periodontitis. If periodontitis is suspected, your dentist might suggest a diagnostic tool, such as a periodontal pocket depth test, to confirm the diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with periodontitis, your dentist will discuss the best treatment options for you. Possible treatments include:
- Medications – Your dentist might prescribe antibiotics or medication to help alleviate pain.
- Surgery – If periodontitis is extreme, your dentist might recommend surgery.
How to Prevent Periodontitis
The simplest way to prevent periodontitis is to have regular dental checkups. Your dentist will provide you with routine cleaning and will provide you with advice regarding how to take care of your teeth and gums.
If you continually practice dental hygiene, you can help prevent many periodontal diseases. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. If you still have pain or inflammation, you might consider using a mouthwash that is meant to treat gingivitis.
In addition, you should make sure that you do not smoke. Smoking can cause gum disease and many other health concerns. If you are a smoker or know a smoker, urge them to quit.
In some cases, you might need to change your diet in order to prevent periodontitis. If you have diabetes, you should visit the dentist regularly and follow the advice of your health care providers.
Periodontitis might be easily overlooked as a minor irritant, but it could develop into a serious health problem. If you notice signs or symptoms of periodontitis, such as inflamed gums, you should contact your dentist immediately. Your dentist will help you determine if periodontitis is causing damage to your gums and teeth and if you need treatment.
Get your periodontitis treated now with the help of Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry. We are an emergency dentist in Raleigh, NC, that provides a full range of patient-oriented dental services. Make an appointment now!