What is gum disease and periodontal disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a condition that starts with excessive bacterial accumulation in your mouth. If left untreated, the bacteria may continue spreading and affect your gums, leading to gum infection, gum recession, and eventually the loss of gum tissues and surrounding teeth. Gum disease and periodontal disease can usually be prevented with optimal oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings.
Is gum disease the same as periodontal disease?
Yes, periodontal disease is another name for gum disease or periodontitis.
What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
Gum disease is a progressive condition that gradually worsens with time. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two stages of gum inflammation and disease. Gingivitis is the first stage, i.e., gum inflammation, and periodontitis is the final stage, i.e., periodontitis. You should ideally seek treatment when you identify the signs and symptoms of gingivitis because periodontitis is extremely hard to treat or reverse. To understand the specific differences between gingivitis and periodontitis, you must understand how gum disease gradually spreads and worsens.
To maintain optimal oral hygiene, you must brush and floss your teeth regularly, rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, and go for regular dental cleanings. If you don’t do any of these, your teeth may eventually develop a sticky film of bacteria and food, known as plaque. Over time, plaque releases an acid that attacks and decays your enamel, and eventually hardens into a substance called tartar. The accumulation of tartar damages the gum tissues and teeth, leading to gum inflammation. This is known as gingivitis.
During the gingivitis phase, your gums may bleed easily while brushing, but your teeth will be firmly planted in the gum tissues. If you go to your nearest dentist promptly, you can reverse gingivitis and restore optimal oral health.
However, if you avoid treatment, the bacteria, plaque, and tartar will continue accumulating in your teeth and gums. Eventually, the inner layers of your teeth and gums will pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of pockets of space. When the pockets widen, bacteria may accumulate in the gaps, worsening your gum health. Over time, the bacteria will continue affecting your bone tissues and tooth, leading to the loss of bone and teeth. The teeth will eventually loosen and may fall out of the socket. The longer you wait for treatment, the harder it is to reverse periodontitis.
What are the risk factors for periodontitis gum disease?
As discussed above, periodontitis gum disease occurs when you don’t maintain optimal oral hygiene or go for regular dental cleanings. That leads to plaque and tartar accumulation, which leads to bacteria, which leads to gum inflammation and periodontitis. However, several risk factors make it more likely that you’ll eventually develop periodontitis.
The following are the most common risk factors for periodontitis gum disease:
- Hormonal Changes: Periods of drastic hormonal fluctuations during menopause, menstruation, pregnancy, and puberty make your gums more sensitive to plaque and tartar accumulation. During these periods, you must be especially thorough with teeth cleaning and oral hygiene.
- Family History: Patients with a family history of gum disease are more likely to experience periodontitis. As such, they should be more vigilant about oral health and the signs and symptoms of gingivitis.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Optimal oral hygiene involves brushing and flossing twice a day, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and going for regular teeth cleanings once every six months. If you have poor oral hygiene, you’re more likely to develop gum disease.
- Illnesses: Certain medical conditions and illnesses, such as HIV and diabetes, affect your immune system and blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of infections leading to periodontitis and gum disease.
- Medications: Certain medications can restrict saliva formation in your mouth, increasing the risk of gum disease. These medications and drugs include Dilatin, Procardia, Adalat, and others. Please discuss your current medication usage with your dentist for more information.
- Smoking: Tobacco usage reduces your body’s ability to heal, increasing the risk of gum disease.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis gum disease?
Periodontitis gum disease is a progressive condition that worsens with time, so you must seek treatment the moment you identify the first warning signs and symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of gum disease:
- Your gums bleed while brushing
- Your gums are extremely sensitive
- You have red and swollen gums
- You have persistent bad breath
- You have a receding gum line
- You have deep pockets between your gums and teeth
- You have loose or shifting teeth
How long can a tooth abscess wait for treatment?
A dental abscess is a dental emergency, so you need to contact an emergency dentist without delay. A dental abscess indicates severe dental infection in your teeth. If you don’t seek immediate treatment, you may eventually suffer from lifelong complications. In some cases, the infection can also enter your bloodstream, increasing the risk of diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and other problems. If you notice the signs and symptoms of a dental abscess, please contact an emergency dentist without delay.
What should I do if I break a temporary crown?
If you break a temporary crown, please remove the crown and its broken pieces from your mouth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and examine your mouth to determine if there are any jagged edges. Call your local dentist and schedule an appointment for another temporary crown or permanent crown. This isn’t a dental emergency, but you should call your local dentist as soon as possible within regular business hours.
Schedule an appointment at a dental clinic open on Saturday.
URBN Dental is a dental clinic open on Saturday, making it extremely convenient for patients to seek treatment. You can find URBN Dental in Uptown Houston and Midtown Houston, TX. Depending on your location, please schedule an appointment at your nearest dental clinic today.