Hearing that you’ve got a case of gingivitis can be bad news, but patients who ignore those early warnings may end up with much more serious gum disease, known as periodontitis. In periodontitis, the inflammation has moved from your gums into the deeper tissues, such as teeth and even the bones of your mouth.
How Does Periodontitis Start?
Generally, periodontitis takes a long time to occur. Most people start with simple gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, and it eventually turns into periodontitis as the causative bacteria spread. Caused by plaque buildup that turns into tartar at or below the gumline, periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss in adults from all walks of life.
You may already suspect you have periodontitis. A few common signs include tender, swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, receding gums or chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to call a dentist for a thorough evaluation.
Prevention and Treatment of Periodontitis
Regular brushing and flossing, as well as dropping a tobacco habit, can go a long way to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. However, once either has started, it’s vital to actively work to reduce the inflammation and treat the underlying disease.
At Neumann Family Dentistry, that process starts with a thorough cleaning, including within those pockets that are forming below the gumline, where bacteria can grow and infection can fester. If you haven’t had a cleaning in a while, we may need to start with a procedure called scaling, followed by planing to ensure your newly cleaned teeth are perfectly smooth.
More serious infections or those that have been active for a long time may require more significant procedures that allow better access to the bone and teeth below the gumline, a repositioning of the gum itself, or even bone grafts to rebuild seriously damaged hard tissues.
Even though it can be a lot of work, it’s important to complete the therapeutic treatments suggested by your dentist to preserve your oral health and prevent further tooth loss or decay.