What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, often begins as a buildup of plaque on the tooth’s surface near the gum line. If this plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing regularly, it can harden into what dentists calls tartar.
Plaque will continue to build up over the tartar, and eventually cause the gums to become red, swollen, and irritated. This is known as gingivitis and is the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
- Red, swollen, sore gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing and flossing
- Teeth that appear longer or become loose
- Large spaces that form between the teeth
- Gums that begin to pull away from the teeth
- Chronic bad breath
Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can contribute to other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. If you’re pregnant, periodontal disease is also linked to premature birth or low birth weight. Your smile’s health affects the overall health of your body.
Am I at risk of having periodontal disease?
You may be at risk of having periodontal disease if you smoke or use tobacco products, you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, you have health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis, or if several of your family members have had gum disease because it can, in some cases, be genetic. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with our office, so we can help determine if treatment is necessary.
Is periodontal disease treatable?
Gum disease is both preventable and treatable. Today’s periodontal treatments offer a variety of options that are gentle, safe, and effective. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, your dentist or hygienist can help you determine what treatment best meets your needs, from more frequent cleanings to a referral to a periodontist.
Periodontal treatments include:
- Non-surgical treatment
- Periodontal surgery
- Periodontal therapy
- At-home care (special toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and prescription treatment trays)
Who is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who has the training and experience required by the Canadian Dental Association to diagnose, treat, and prevent different forms of periodontal or gum disease.