Considered one of the most common dental disease seen in patients, periodontal disease affects close to three million people in the United States alone. This disease must be diagnosed by your dentist and cannot be treated by home remedies. If you think you might have some of the symptoms of periodontal disease, we encourage you to schedule an appointment immediately with Dr. Gonzalez. He has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating the disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection of the gums, teeth, and surrounding tissues. When left untreated it can progress enough to infect the jaw bone. Symptoms include bad breath, bleeding gums, loosening teeth that eventually fall out, and pain.
What are the stages of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be broken down into three different stages. The earlier you catch it the easier it is to treat and possibly reverse.
The first stage is known as gingivitis. In this stage a person’s gums will bleed when they are brushed and will also appear red and swollen. At this early stage the disease can be reversed, however, it will take a complete overhaul of your oral hygiene routine. Dr. Gonzalez can help evaluate your routine and make recommendations for improvement.
In the second stage of the disease a person is known as having periodontitis. At this point the disease is irreversible because the tissues and bones around the teeth have been damaged from excessive decay. This decay is often caused by food collecting in pockets around the gums (the tissue around the gums is normally tight). When food collects in these pockets where your toothbrush can’t reach, decay ensues.
At this point the disease can’t be reversed, but it can be managed through thorough cleanings and a good oral hygiene routine.
In the final stage of periodontal disease a person is known as having advanced periodontitis. At this point a person’s teeth are loose and falling out, they have bone loss, and need extensive extractions and prosthetics to acquire normal function of their mouth. This means that when left untreated, a person’s speech and even eating habits are affected.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
The only way to prevent this destructive disease is to keep up on your oral hygiene. Start by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once a day. It doesn’t matter if you floss during the day or night. What matters is that you floss.
Finally, it’s important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. These cleanings are a crucial part of keeping up on your oral health. They give the dentist the opportunity to examine your mouth and determine if any alarming changes have occurred. They also provide a baseline, so that over the years the dentist can track your progress and treat you as necessary.