No one wants to learn that they have periodontal disease. But, once it sets in, the next question is whether or not it is curable. Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, this short answer doesn’t provide you with the full scope. You cannot restore bone that has been lost. However, you can halt the damage in its tracks or severely slow its progression. The trick lies in keeping up with home care and being extremely vigilant in attending your regular dentist appointments. You can’t cure periodontal disease, but you can stop it where it is.
Periodontal Disease Causes
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque and bacteria around the gum line. While mild build up (known as gingivitis) can be reversed, prolonged build up can accumulate beneath the gum line. Once it’s there, it can no longer be reached by regular tools. Only a dentist can help you clean below your gums. Pockets beneath your gums can become infected. The infection can then spread, destroying bone and supporting tissue and leading to tooth loss or the need for tooth extraction.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
The signs of periodontal disease start small. At its earliest, still reversible stages, gingivitis is found in redness of the gums. The gums may also be swollen and tender, bleeding easily during brushing and flossing. Other symptoms may include persistent bad breath and gum/tooth sensitivity to heat or cold.
As periodontal disease advances, the symptoms become more pronounced. Bad breath becomes worse and may be accompanied by a foul taste in the mouth on waking or during the day. Gums are extremely swollen and begin to pull away from the teeth. Infections become common. Your teeth will eventually loosen and fall out, and you may have jaw infections and softening of the face as your jaw bone is destroyed.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
If you have gingivitis or the mildest form of periodontal disease, treatment is to brush up on your brushing habits. Your dentist can teach you the most effective ways to brush and floss. You’ll be instructed on the right foods to eat, what to avoid, and how often you should brush your teeth. Follow these instructions to the letter, and you may be able to reverse your gingivitis before permanent damage is done to your teeth and jaw. Brushing and flossing really are habits to cultivate.
More advanced periodontal disease needs treatment to confront it. You can get a specialist to do a deep cleaning of your teeth. This allows your dentist to clean below the gum line and take care of any pockets of infection you may have. This deep cleaning will need to be repeated to hold your periodontal disease at the status quo. Keep up with brushing and flossing on your own time!
The most advanced periodontal disease requires your teeth to be pulled and replaced. As inserts cannot hold in a weakened jaw bone, dentures are often the primary solution to tooth loss caused by periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is not curable, but it can be fought. Gingivitis can be reversed. Even more advanced periodontal disease can be halted in its tracks with a combination of at-home and dental procedures. If periodontal disease is not stopped, it can result in the loss of your teeth.