Meaning “around the tooth,” the word periodontal refers to the supportive bone and gum tissue that surround your smile. Periodontal disease weakens this structure, having a considerable impact in its advanced forms. This is why periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is considered the number one reason for tooth loss.
However, patients coming to our Wake Forest dental practice may be unaware they have disease as it progresses gradually and is not initially painful. To detect and reduce the risks associated with gum disease, Drs. Winkelmann and Griffin recommend patients incorporate proper home-care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits into their routines.
What Causes Periodontal Diseases?
When bacteria accumulates into a film on the teeth, it is called plaque. This biofilm is what causes gum disease. If left untreated, plaque will harden into tartar, which often cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. Over time, bacteria travels below the gums and causes inflammation and, eventually, recession of gum tissue and bone loss. Studies have also linked the disease to other health concerns, such as increased risk of stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
At Wake Forest Dental Arts, Drs. Winkelmann and Griffin develop treatment plans according to each patient’s risk factors for developing periodontal disease. These risks can stem from causes as diverse as aging, genetic disposition, hormonal changes, and existing systemic diseases to poor habits like deficient nutrition and smoking.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
The most distinguishable characteristics of periodontal disease are changes to the look and condition of the gums. Signs that may indicate the presence of disease include:
- Bleeding gums – Healthy gums should not bleed, even after flossing or vigorous brushing.
- Discolored and swollen gums – Firm, pale pink gums are normal. Gums that appear puffy and either bright red or purple need evaluation.
- Bad breath – Spread of bacteria can lead to persistent bad breath.
- Tender gums – Gum disease can cause the gums to be more sensitive and tender when touched.
- Spaces between teeth – New spaces between the teeth can develop as periodontal disease impacts the supporting bone.
- Longer teeth – Disease can cause gums to pull back, or recede, making teeth look longer than normal.
- Loose teeth – Weakened bone and gum tissue lead to teeth that move easily with little to no pressure applied.
- Pus formation – Areas filled with pus between the teeth and gums signal infection due to advanced periodontal disease.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek out professional evaluation as soon as possible.
Want to Know More? Contact Wake Forest Dental Arts.
Prompt and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment make all the difference when it comes to treating periodontal disease. If you are ready to learn more about attaining optimal dental health, contact our Wake Forest dental office today to schedule a consultation visit.