Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry


Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry

Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

It's no surprise that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in developed countries. When it begins, plaque and bacteria irritate or inflame your gums causing a painful bacterial infection often called "gingivitis." The resulting damage can lead to loose teeth or even entire destruction of bone around them.

Another thing you might want know: not treating this condition could mean losing all your pearly whites!

The types of periodontal diseases can be categorized as aggressive, chronic and necrotizing. Each type has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms that must be treated promptly by a dentist to halt any future bone or tissue loss from happening again.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain.  This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:

  • Unexplained bleeding – Bleeding when brushing, flossing or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection.  The toxins in plaque cause a bacterial infection which makes the tissues prone to bleeding.
  • Pain, redness or swelling – A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red or painful for no apparent reason.  It is essential to halt the progression of the infection before the gum tissue and jaw bone have been affected.  It is also critical to treat the infection before it is carried into the bloodstream to other areas of the body.
  • Longer-looking teeth – Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession.  The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, thus making the teeth look longer and the smile appear more “toothy.”
  • Bad breath/halitosis – Although breath odor can originate from the back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, the food we consume, or from tobacco use, bad breath can also be caused by old food particles that sit between the teeth and underneath the gumline. The deeper gum pockets are able to house more debris and bacteria, causing a foul odor.
  • Loose teeth/change in bite pattern – A sign of rapidly progressing periodontitis is the loosening or shifting of the teeth in the affected area.  As the bone tissue gets destroyed, teeth that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose or may shift in position.
  • Pus – Pus oozing from between the teeth is a definitive sign that a periodontal infection is in progress.  The pus is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

The dentist will assess the entire mouth to determine if periodontal disease has progressed. If one or more bacteria are found, they may be treated with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical treatments like scaling and Root Planning while still surgery is used for complete removal of infection.

The dentist will assess the whole mouth in order to determine whether you have some form of periodontal disease. If it's determined that there is an active bacterial infection, then he or she may use antibiotics along with nonsurgical treatment options like dental flossing or scaling and root planing for more serious cases where surgery would need be considered as well.

Severe periodontitis can be treated in several different ways, such as:

  • Laser treatment – This can be used to reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and the gums.
  • Tissue & bone grafting – Where a considerable amount of bone or gum tissue has been destroyed, the dentist may elect to graft new tissue by inserting a membrane to stimulate tissue growth.
  • Pocket elimination surgery – The dentist may choose to perform “flap surgery” to directly reduce the size of the gum pockets.