Periodontitis is a severe gum infection. Your teeth and gums’ buildup of bacteria is to blame.As periodontitis progresses, it can cause bone and teeth damage. In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth, Dr. Puneet Ahuja, HOD & Senior Consultant, Department of Dental Surgery, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi elucidates upon the symptoms, causes and treatment of periodontitis. Here is what he shared with us.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Symptoms of periodontitis are generally subtle in the early stages. Your dentist will most likely be the first to notice them. In most cases the symptoms differ depending on the stage of the disease, however they typically include:
- Bleeds when you brush or floss your teeth
- Foul odour
- Change in your tooth position or loose teeth
- Gum erosion
- Swollen, red, or sensitive gums
- Plaque or tartar build up on your teeth
- Chewing discomfort
- tooth decay
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Inflammatory response all over your body
What causes periodontitis?
Poor oral hygiene is the most prevalent cause of periodontitis. When you don’t brush your teeth or clean hard-to-reach parts of your mouth, the following things happen:
- Bacteria in your mouth proliferate and combine to form dental plaque.
- If the plaque is not removed by brushing, the bacteria accumulate minerals within the plaque over time.
- This mineral deposit, known as tartar, encourages bacterial development toward the tooth’s root.
- The immunological response of your body to this bacterial proliferation causes gum inflammation.
- The attachment of the gum to the root of a tooth is broken over time, resulting in the formation of a periodontal pocket (gap) between the gum and the root.
- Dangerous anaerobic bacteria proliferate and multiply in the pocket, generating toxins.
- Periodontitis also has genetic predisposition and has familial progression!
How is periodontitis treated?
Periodontitis can be reversed if detected and treated early and the treatment is usually highly effective. The plaque and bacterial deposits on your teeth and gums are removed throughout the treatment. Here is what the dentists usually practice as a treatment of periodontitis.
1. Oral hygiene practices
Your dental care team will instruct you on how to lower the number of bacteria in your mouth, including cleaning your teeth and gums. Your dentist will advise you on adequately using toothbrushes, dental floss, and other oral hygiene items.
2. Professional cleanings
During a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and their roots, polish them, and fluoride them.
In rare circumstances, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to treat persistent gum infections that have not responded to cleanings. The antibiotic could come in a mouthwash, gel, tablet, or capsule used orally.
If irritation develops in areas where brushing and flossing are ineffective, your dentist may offer flap surgery to remove deposits under your gums. If you’ve had any bone loss, bone grafting may be performed alongside flap surgery to repair the damaged bone.
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