If you suffer from gum problems, you may be wondering how to stop periodontitis and improve your oral health.
Find out from our experienced periodontists in San Francisco, CA.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a severe infection of the gum and bone tissues that surround your teeth.
It is an advanced stage of disease beyond gingivitis, characterized by a breakdown of the bone around your teeth. This destruction of bone tissue can compromise the support structure that holds your teeth in place, leading to tooth loss.
While it’s a common problem among both young and older patients, it must be treated with specialized care by a dentist or periodontist.
What causes periodontitis?
Periodontitis is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the form of dental plaque. The bacteria spreads below the gum line, inducing a chronic inflammatory response. As the body turns on itself, the tissues begin to separate and break down.
Periodontitis is often caused by poor oral hygiene practices, though it can stem from other health issues as well. Even with diligent care, you may still be at risk.
Other contributing factors include:
- Poor diet
- Certain medications
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Alcohol and drug use
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
In mild to moderate cases of periodontitis, there are little to no symptoms. The disease can only be detected during a periodontal exam.
In severe cases, symptoms may include:
- Swelling of gums
- Bad breath
- Visible pus
- Loose teeth
- Changes in your bite or teeth alignment
- Pain or tenderness in gums
- Pain while chewing or brushing
- Bleeding gums
- Visible blood while brushing or flossing
- Bright red or purple-tinted gum color
- Receding gums or newly formed spaces between teeth
If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a periodontist right away.
Is periodontal disease reversible? How can I stop it?
Periodontal disease damages the bone, which is not reversible. Once it starts, you will always have it.
All levels of periodontitis require treatment by a dentist. A mild case can typically be managed by a general dentist using non-surgical treatments. Moderate to severe cases require management by a periodontist and typically require surgery to save as many teeth as possible.
Your periodontal disease will always need management, but can go into remission with appropriate treatment and the following practices:
- Brush at least twice a day, for two minutes
- Floss at least once a day
- Avoid smoking cigarettes
- Eat a healthy diet, including limited high sugars and acidic foods
- Visit your dentist for regular dental cleanings and exams
- Get poorly fitted crowns or bridges fixed
- Find out if your medications may aggravate gum disease
Catching the disease as early as possible is critical to prevent it from spreading and creating further destruction. Regular periodontal exams can proactively detect the disease, even if you have no symptoms.
What is periodontal disease treatment?
Treatment is unique to each patient based on the nature and extent of their periodontal disease.
A common treatment method, known as scaling and root planing, removes plaque, tartar, and harmful bacteria above and below the gumline.
To improve the aesthetics of your smile that’s been damaged by periodontal disease, we offer cosmetic periodontal surgery.
- Crown lengthening: Removes excess gum tissue (which gives teeth a shorter appearance).
- Soft tissue grafting: Covers damaged tooth roots and reduces further gum recession.
Your San Francisco gum specialists are here to help
According to the American Dental Association… Opens a new window to the ADA website… , chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults in the US over the age of 30.
If you or someone you know exhibits signs of periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with our San Francisco periodontists, serving surrounding communities of East Bay and North Bay.
Or you can contact us using one of these other means: