Periodontal disease is due to a buildup of bacteria, mucus, and other particles over time that eventually create the plaque that sit between the teeth and the gums. On the minor end of the spectrum, periodontal disease can cause simple gum inflammation, otherwise known as gingivitis. However, if the periodontal disease is not addressed and taken care of, it can lead to the more severe spectrum of complications that results in tissue damage or even tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can especially be tricky because often the development is painless. Therefore, the affected person may not even suspect an ongoing disease process. Knowing the signs and symptoms of early onset periodontal disease is essential to health promotion and disease prevention. The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis. Signs and symptoms include red gums that are swollen and easily bleed. If the gingivitis is caught and treated early, the disease process can effectively be reversed and the person can avoid any permanent damage. Healthy dental practices such as regular deep cleanings, adhering to a good home care regimen, and regular maintenance are requirements to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Over time gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis. There are also risk factors that can contribute to the acceleration of periodontal disease. These risk factors include smoking, genetic predispositions, and uncontrolled diabetes.
When periodontal disease has developed to a more advanced stage there is typically clinical and radiographic evidence of injury to the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. During this phase of the disease process, the goal is to stop the progression of the disease and restore the teeth and gums to their optimal health. Treatments during this phase of the disease may include medications to manage bacterial growth; reduction of the size of pocket space between the gums and the teeth; additionally, gum surgery as well as grafts may be involved depending on the severity.