Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic gum infection that can negatively affect the health of your gums, teeth, and jawbone. As the disease spreads throughout your mouth, it can cause chronic bad breath, tissue degeneration, pain and swelling, and tooth loss. If left untreated, it can even lead to serious systemic issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontal disease affects close to half of the people in the United States. That means that nearly one out of every two people you come in contact with in a day struggle with some type of this disorder. When caught in it’s earliest stages, symptoms can often be reversed and easily treated. This is why visiting your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations twice a year is very important.
Philadelphia dentist Dr. Tau provides periodontics – the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease – at his practice for those either suffering from, or susceptible to this gum infection. Below are some of the top signs to be aware of and tips for how to prevent the disease from occurring. If you are concerned about the health of your smile, or it’s been awhile since you lasted visited the dentist, please contact Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence today online or by calling (215) 712-8130 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tau.
Top Signs of Periodontal Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain when biting down or chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold beverages
- Gums that are sore to the touch
- Visible infection, such as an abscess along the gum line
Because these signs can also be confused with symptoms of a cavity or severely infected tooth, it’s important to visit the dentist as soon as side effects are experienced. Dr. Tau will be able to perform a complete examination to identify the cause of your discomfort and use x-ray technology to view what’s going on below the underlying layers.
Are You at Risk of Developing Periodontal Disease?
Although anyone is susceptible to developing periodontal disease, there are certain factors that may put you at greater risk. Poor oral hygiene and nutrition are two of the leading causes of periodontal disease. If you fail to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist biannually, it is highly possible you will develop both cavities and periodontal disease. Maintaining a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates is also a key component.
However, even if you maintain the healthiest diet and regimented oral hygiene routine, you are still at risk if you:
- Have a family history of periodontal disease
- Smoke or chew tobacco
- Have diabetes or another autoimmune disorder
- Grind your teeth
- Take certain medications, such as oral contraceptives or anti-depressants
- Have a stressful lifestyle
- Are pregnant or going through menopause
Ways to Treat Periodontal Disease
If you have the beginning signs of periodontal disease, Dr. Tau may recommend a deep cleaning that includes scaling and root planing. During this treatment, the hygienist will numb your gums to provide optimal comfort. She will then use a scaler to remove plaque and bacteria from the base of your teeth, between teeth, and below the gum line. A root planing device will then be used to smooth the root surface of the tooth. This eliminates any grooves to prevent bacteria from getting easily trapped and helps the gums fit tighter against the base of the tooth. Sometimes more aggressive treatments are required, such as gum or bone grafting to replace unhealthy tissue. These procedures typically involves meeting with a periodontist or oral surgeon.
Call Today to Book Your Appointment
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, or are concerned you may be at risk for developing periodontal disease – please contact Philadelphia dentist Dr. Tau today. You can call us at (215) 712-8130 or request an appointment online