What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Signs & Treatment Options

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Signs & Treatment Options

Jul 01, 2023

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Gum disease, also referred to as periodontitis or periodontal disease, best describes an infection, swelling, or soreness of the oral tissues supporting your teeth. This disease starts with bacterial overgrowth in the oral cavity, and if not treated, it progresses to stages that can cause teeth loss due to the destruction of gum tissue.

What are the Various Types of Periodontal (Gum) Diseases?

Gum disease can be classified into six types, but the main types are three. They are gingivitis, periodontitis, and acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis:

1) Gingivitis

When you frequently skip dental hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing, plaque which is a sticky film of harmful oral bacteria, builds up on your teeth. The bacteria release corrosive acids that start eroding the teeth’s outer protective shell, referred to as the enamel. This results in dental decay, and as more plaque accumulates on your teeth’ surface, they harden to form tartar along your gum line, making it difficult to clean your gums and teeth completely.

As time goes by, tartar buildup leads to gum irritation and inflammation, causing gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis can be resolved at home with regular teeth brushing and appropriate flossing techniques. You can also visit our periodontist in Plano, TX for professional teeth cleaning to remove all traces of plaque, tartar, and bacterial products.

2) Periodontitis

When gingivitis goes untreated, the inflammation spreads beneath the gums to the ligaments and bones holding teeth in position. This is a more advanced stage called periodontitis and is characterized by gums pulling away from teeth forming pockets. The newly formed gum pockets trap plaque which can be impossible to reach with your toothbrush.

Over time, more plaque accumulates in the pockets and eventually hardens to tartar. This irritates the gum tissues even more and causes the pockets to become deeper. Sometimes one may develop a gum infection, and pus may collect beneath the gum tissue to form an abscess.

Untreated periodontitis may cause gum recession, where the gum tissue shrinks back, pulling away from teeth. This can leave the roots of some teeth exposed, leading to sensitivity, or in a worst-case scenario, you get loose teeth because of bone loss.

3) Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis

This is a severe form of gum disease with a sudden onset. It results from a bacterial infection and may present with painful ulcers that easily bleed, difficulty talking or swallowing, bad breath, a metallic taste in the mouth, and may be accompanied by fever.

Any person presenting with symptoms of acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis needs to get medical attention from our Plano dentist as soon as possible.

What are the Causes of Periodontal (Gum) Diseases?

Gum disease is mainly caused by the following:

  • Ineffective dental hygiene – Dental plaque buildup is the major cause of gum disease. The plaque has different types of bacteria that are a potential risk for gum infection. This explains why people with poor dental hygiene are the most predisposed to the disease.
  • Other factors that can put you at risk of periodontal disease include genetics, poor nutrition, diabetes, smoking, and obesity.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal (Gum) Diseases?

Below are the signs & symptoms of periodontal (gum) diseases:

  • Swollen or red gums which easily bleed when you brush or floss your teeth or when you bite something hard such as an apple
  • Persistent halitosis
  • Separating or loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Sores in the mouth

What are the Different Treatment Options for Periodontal (Gum) Diseases?

In less advanced stages, gum diseases treatment will consist of non-surgically procedures and medications such as:

  • Scaling to remove bacteria and tartar below the gum line and teeth surface.
  • Antibiotics to treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Root planing to prevent further accumulation of tartar.

Surgical interventions are necessary when the patient has advanced periodontitis and may include:

  • Flap Surgery– Involves pocket reduction procedures to allow more effective root planing and scaling.
  • Guided-tissue Regeneration– It is done to facilitate the regrowth of destroyed bone tissue.
  • Soft Tissue Grafting– A small tissue amount is removed from the mouth’s roof and used to reinforce damaged gum tissue.
  • Tissue-stimulating Proteins– It involves the application of a special gel containing proteins similar to those found in a developing dental enamel to a damaged tooth root to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue and bone.

Get Gum Disease Treatment Near You

Gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss in American adults; therefore, you should immediately visit a dental office should you notice the signs. Contact SS Dental now for gum disease treatment in Plano, TX!