Periodontitis Treatment: What It Involves and How to Avoid Needing It
Periodontitis can damage gum tissue and bone. We take a look at what is involved in periodontitis treatment and how to prevent it in the first place.
Keyword(s): periodontitis treatment
Nearly half of all adults over age 30 (47.2 percent) suffer from some kind of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease also affects an even great number of senior citizens (70.1 percent).
There’s a good chance you could also be dealing with periodontitis or another form of periodontal disease.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, you could have these issues and not even realize it.
Read on to get informed. In this article, you’ll learn all there is to know about periodontitis, periodontitis treatment, and periodontitis prevention.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a condition that involves severe inflammation of the gums, as well as the other structures that support the teeth and hold them in place.
Periodontitis is usually brought on by a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. It usually starts as gingivitis.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Many people experience symptoms of periodontitis without even realizing that something is wrong.
Some common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, or that bleed frequently
- Receding gum lines (more of the tooth is exposed)
- Loose teeth
- The presence of an unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
It’s easy to explain away these symptoms, but if you’re noticing them (and you haven’t been to the dentist for a checkup in a while), it’s likely that periodontitis is the culprit.
Causes of Periodontitis
Periodontitis occurs when plaque and bacteria build up on the teeth.
The most common cause of this buildup is poor oral hygiene. If you are not brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis (twice and once per day, respectively), you’ll increase your chances of developing periodontitis.
Smoking cigarettes also increases your chances of developing periodontitis, as does eating an unhealthy diet high in sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Long-term Periodontitis Risks
Tooth loss is one of the most well-known risks of untreated, long-term periodontitis.
In order to get rid of a bacterial infection, the body will produce substances that break down the structures holding the teeth in place, including the bones in the jaw and the periodontal ligaments.
If this process continues untreated, the teeth will become loose and may even fall out.
Pockets may form between the gums and teeth, too. This allows more bacteria to accumulate and makes the infection worse.
Periodontitis Treatment Options
If you’re experiencing symptoms of periodontitis, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you can get to a dentist, the less damage will be done to your teeth and the sooner you can begin healing.
So, what are your treatment options for dealing with periodontitis?
Some of the most common treatments a dentist will use when addressing periodontitis include:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing (also known as SRP) involves manually scraping away the plaque and tartar from the teeth.
During this treatment, the dentist will also smooth away rough spots on the roots of the teeth to reduce the likelihood that bacteria will collect there again.
Depending on the severity of your periodontitis, you may need several appointments with your dentist to get rid of all the plaque and tartar. They may also administer a local anesthetic to minimize your discomfort.
If SRP is not sufficient, your dentist may recommend a pocket reduction procedure.
Also known as flap surgery, this procedure involves folding the gum tissue back to remove bacteria and smooth out areas where the bone was damaged. This allows your gum tissue to reattach itself to the healthy bone.
If your gums have receded so far back that the roots of your teeth are exposed, you may need a gum graft.
This procedure involves taking tissue from the palate or another area and using it to cover the roots of the teeth.
By covering the roots, your dentist will be able to minimize your tooth sensitivity and prevent root decay. This treatment also stops gum recession and bone loss from progressing any further.
Your dentist might also recommend regenerative treatments that stimulate the bone growth in the jaw.
These treatments are effective if your periodontitis has progressed to the point where you’re losing bone tissue.
If they decide to take this approach, your dentist will get rid of bacteria in the mouth, then place natural or synthetic bone and tissue-stimulating proteins in the area where the bone was lost.
How to Prevent Periodontitis
As you can see, the treatment options for periodontitis are pretty intense and time-consuming. They can also be expensive, especially when you get into gum graft and bone regeneration territory.
If you’re not eager to undergo one of these procedures, or if you want to prevent periodontitis from coming back after you’ve had it addressed once, you’ll need to make sure you’re taking steps to prevent it.
Remember, it’s almost always easier to prevent an issue than it is to treat it. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing periodontitis in the future:
- Brush your teeth twice a day (including your tongue)
- Floss at least once per day
- Give up behaviors that increase your risk (smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, etc.)
- Visit your dentist twice per year for checkups and cleanings
There are not a lot of extra steps involved in preventing periodontitis.
As long as you’re making oral hygiene a priority and keeping up with your appointments, you’ll likely be able to catch any issues early on and prevent the need for future treatments.
Get Periodontitis Treatment Today
Do you think you’re suffering from periodontitis? Could you benefit from periodontitis treatment?
If you live in or around the Aurora, Colorado area, come see us at Summerbrook Dental today.
We offer periodontitis treatment, as well as a variety of other dental services, and we prioritize you.
When you work with us, we’ll put together an individualized plan to improve your oral health and keep your teeth and gums healthy long-term.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our approach and services.