Did you know that periodontal disease is more common than you might think? According to the Canadian Dental Association, around 11% of the population suffers from this severe form of gum disease. Of course, there’s a reason it’s sometimes called the “silent disease”: many people don’t show symptoms until the condition progresses.
If you’re already worried about visiting your local dentist in Mississauga, this fact may spark a bit of anxiety in you. However, it’s worth noting that this disease—like many dental conditions—is both preventable and treatable when caught early!
When you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal gum disease, you may not be sure what to expect from the condition—or what you should know in advance. We’re here to help! Here’s what you should know about how gum disease impacts your health.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Before we get too much further, let’s discuss the basics of this condition. Periodontal disease, also informally called “gum disease,” happens when the tissues holding your teeth and gums in place grow infected.
This often happens as a result of poor brushing and flossing habits. When you take good care of your dental health, you keep sticky bacteria from forming a plaque that hardens on the surface of your teeth. Regular dental cleanings can also help you keep plaque and tartar buildups from forming, thus lowering your chances of getting gum disease.
With poor oral care, you may find yourself slipping into the first stage of gum disease, called gingivitis. This form of gum disease is less severe. You may notice symptoms like bleeding or inflamed gums, for example, or you may have bad breath that persists over time.
If untreated, gingivitis can evolve into periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease. When this happens, your inflamed gums will start to pull away from the surface of your teeth. This is more than a cosmetic issue: it creates spaces for bacteria to slip under your gums and infect the underlying structures of your teeth.
Risk Factors Associated With Periodontal Disease
In addition to poor brushing habits, there are a few risk factors that can make you more likely to have gum disease.
- Chronic stress
- Teeth grinding
- Crooked teeth
- Defective fillings
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Ill-fitting dental bridges
- Conditions that cause immunodeficiency, such as AIDS
- Hormonal changes in women, such as pregnancy or new contraceptives
Some of these conditions, such as smoking, can also make your treatment itself less likely to be successful. If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal gum disease, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions to eliminate or minimize as many of these risk factors as possible.
Common Periodontal Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of gum disease may vary from mouth to mouth. However, in general, there are a few common symptoms to look out for.
For example, lingering bad breath is a sign of poor oral hygiene, so you should pay close attention if you have a hard time getting rid of it. From there, watch for redness, inflammation, or bleeding around your gums.
For many patients, chewing becomes painful, or their teeth become loose or sensitive. In some cases, you may also notice that your teeth appear longer as your gums recede upward.
Gum Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health
Because gum disease is linked to infection and inflammation, it can have impacts beyond your oral health.
Studies have linked gum disease to other health conditions, from heart and kidney disease to diabetes. Even conditions like Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis have been associated with it, and heart health, in particular, seems to share a link.
This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist on a regular basis: keeping gum disease in check isn’t difficult, and it can have a profound effect on your health as a whole.
When to Visit a Dentist in Mississauga
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms above, it’s a good idea to visit a dentist for a checkup. Your dentist can identify signs of gum disease and recommend a treatment plan for your specific needs.
Again, the earlier you catch gum disease, the better. Stopping this condition while it’s in the initial gingivitis stage can make your treatment much easier than it would be if you let it evolve!
Common Periodontal Disease Treatments
Depending on the severity of your condition, there are a number of treatments a dentist may recommend to help.
Often, you’ll find that the best way forward is nonsurgical. Your dentist will likely recommend scaling, which helps to remove bacteria from under your gums and atop your teeth. They may also recommend root planning, which can help smooth the roots of your teeth and prevent future bacterial infection.
If your periodontitis is severe, you may need to undergo surgery. This involves flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery. During this type of surgery, your dentist will make small incisions in your gums to allow them to do a deep cleaning of your teeth.
In either case, you will likely need to take antibiotics to eliminate all of the bacteria causing issues in your mouth.
With advanced cases of periodontitis, your dentist may also ask if you want to undergo a restorative dentistry procedure.
Because the gums do not grow back, some patients prefer to have a gum graft to address their receding gums, for example. Others opt for bone grafts to help alleviate bone loss in the jaw. Both of these can be a great way to restore the beauty and function of your smile in the long-term.
Contact Our Dental Team Today
Your gums are a vital part of your smile, and it’s important to keep them protected. If you’re worried that gum disease has set in, it’s time to reach out to a local dentist in Mississauga for diagnosis and treatment.
At Limelight Dental, our team of specialists is here to assist in everything from preventative dentistry to restorative practices. We’ll help you understand your options for treatment and develop a recovery plan for your needs. To get started, book an appointment today!