Men are more likely to show signs of periodontal disease than women, and it usually will not develop until their 30’s or 40’s. There are still some patients who may develop it in their 20’s,and those in their teens can still develop gingivitis, which is a milder form of the gum trouble that can lead to periodontal disease. While it can be a bit hard to determine exactly which type it is, there are some tell-tale signs that you are developing it.
How do you know if you may have periodontal Disease?
There are specific signs that you can watch for that will let you know if you are beginning to experience periodontal disease. When you see any of these signs, make sure you let the dentist or hygienist know about your concerns.
• Bad breath that is persistent and strong
• Increased swelling and red gums
• Gums that become very tender and bleeding
• Acute pain while chewing
• Teeth that begin to wiggle and come loose
• Sudden sensitivity to hot and cold on your teeth
• Receding gums or teeth appearing longer
• Sores in your mouth
• Dentures that have a sudden change in fit
• Teeth that bleed while brushing
Things the dentists will ask once the problem is identified
Sometimes a patient will have a case of something like halitosis or incredibly bad breath, and mistakenly think that they are all the way in the throngs of periodontal disease. When you express concern and are able to go to the dentist’s office to get it checked out, here are some of the things that they will attempt so they can see what’s been happening.
They will want to know about your medical history, so they can identify what may be underlying conditions such as smoking that may have contributed to the problem.
The dentist or hygienist will closely examine your gums and note any signs of extreme inflammation, and will also use a “probe”, or tiny ruler to test the depth of your gum pockets.
This procedure does not cause any pain, and will give them an inclination of how to proceed from here.
Depending on the age of the patient and severity they find in the examination, the dentist may also take an X-ray to determine the severity of any bone loss. Ultimately, you may be referred to a periodontist, who is an expert in treatment and diagnosis, with other options for treatment that are more advanced.
What are some ways in which Gum Disease is Treated?
The main goal of treatment is to make sure that the existing infection is able to come under control. The doctor may suggest certain positive behaviors, such as quitting smoking and changing diet, as a way to boost the chance of success with whatever treatment plan fares best for you.
Deep Scaling and Root Planning
This method is one that directly attacks the plaque in question, by carefully scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Sometimes available by use of very modern lasers, it tends to leave the patient bleeding much less, and experiencing less discomfort.
Types of Surgery that can help with Periodontal Disease
Flap Surgery is sometimes necessary if the problem has persisted for years, and become very serious. The gums are lifted back, which gives a much easier path of access to the professional to remove tartar deposits.
After surgery, the gums will heal and fit more snugly around the affected teeth, enabling the patient a better chance of keeping the teeth healthy in the days to come.
Bone and Tissue Grafts are involved in a very modern process that is ultimately there to help with bone growth. A small piece of mesh-like material is placed between the gum tissue and the affected bone, and it keeps the gum tissue from growing into the bone’s space.
Special proteins may also be used, to help speed up the body’s natural bone growth, and ultimate health.
What are some medications that can help with periodontal disease?
An antimicrobial mouthwash contains chlorhexidine, which does a good job of controlling bacteria before and after any surgery. It’s used like a regular mouthwash, and can aide in the battle that you are facing.
Antiseptic chips are small pieces of gelatin that are also filled with chlorhexidine, and after scaling is placed in the affected pockets. The medicine in this treatment is released very slowly over time, and is very effective at controlling bacteria.
Antibiotics in pill form are also administered to aide the help, and they are useful at many different stages of all sorts of dental conditions.
For periodontal disease, they are effective for short term treatment of a persistent infection, and sometimes a round of these is used as an experiment to see if it can clear up a problem before scaling and root planning.
Gel with antibiotics contains doxycycline, which can control bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets that are prevalent with periodontal disease. This gel is usually placed in the pockets after scaling and planning and releases slowly over about a week-long period.