Simply put, periodontitis is the technical term for a disease that affects both the gum and the periodontal bones.
Periodontitis is a very nasty disease. It is an infection that affects the structures around the teeth – the gums; the alveolar bone and the periodontal ligament – but it does not affect the teeth themselves.
It is an advanced disease, which usually starts off as a disease that only affects the gums before spreading to the other areas of the periodontal structure if left untreated.
A progressive disease
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. It is an unpleasant disease that occurs when bacterial plaque is not thoroughly removed from your teeth.
Dental plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that is constantly trying to form on the surface of your teeth.
It can be removed through regular cleaning and flossing but the longer it remains unchecked, the more it builds upon the teeth where it hardens and forms tartar.
When plaque extends below the gum line, where it gets trapped between the teeth and the gums, it causes an infection.
The symptoms to look out for are red, swollen and bleeding gums as well as bad breath and soreness below the gum line.
Even after gingivitis has set in, it is easily reversible with daily brushing and flossing – or, indeed, professional cleaning at the dentist’s office.
However, if left untreated gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which is a much more serious condition. This is where the toxins, caused by the build-up of bacterial plaque, not only affect your gum tissue, but also the bone and ligaments that support your teeth.
What to watch out for
The symptoms to look out for here include bleeding and particularly swollen, tender gums.
You will experience pain when chewing, both in the gums themselves as well as sudden sharp sensitivity within the teeth.
And, of course, as with all of these issues, you’ll notice that you’re hampered by persistent bad breath.
As this advanced form of the infection causes disease to the bone and supporting tissues, as well as to the gums, your teeth may eventually become loose and need to be treated surgically or even removed.
There are so many successful treatment options available for advanced periodontal disease that in most cases it is actually reversible so the loss of teeth doesn’t have to be the inevitable final step with an unhealthy gum line.
However, if you suspect that you are suffering from this sneaky disease, or if you’ve displayed any of the aforementioned symptoms, you need to take action now.
The sooner you make an appointment, the more likely you are to keep your smile.