what is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that begins as inflammation, redness and bleeding. If left untreated, it can damage the soft tissues and bony areas of the mouth, often leading to bone loss. in the most severe cases, teeth can get loose and fall out. Serious medical conditions such as diabetes have also been associated with periodontal disease. Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- receding gum line
- red, bleeding gums
- sensitive gums
- loose teeth
The good news is that early stages of periodontal disease can be treated and often cured. Serious cases may require more frequent and extensive dental visits to control the infection. Patients with a severe condition with damage to tissue/bone may need an evaluation with a periodontist to discuss available options.
First, improved and consistent brushing and flossing are a must. Since gum disease is usually discovered by a dentist or hygienist, routine cleanings and exams are recommended at least twice a year. Extra maintenance visits can help control the disease. Smoking increases the likelihood and should be avoided. Other risk factors include genetic susceptibility, diabetes and taking certain medications. Always notify your dentist of any change in your health history or current prescriptions.