Periodontitis – or what an average folk would call ‘gum disease’ is a very serious dental problem. Till this moment, there is a clash in ideas as to if this condition is curable or not.
So, is periodontitis that bad?
Well, gum disease ‘periodontitis’ is pretty bad. It just doesn’t go after your teeth, periodontitis also affects the bone and soft tissues that are the tooth’s support. When bacteria in the mouth attach themselves to a particular tooth, they multiply there and surround the pockets around the tooth. The body’s reaction would be to release toxins. However, these toxins and the bacteria battle would only cause an inflammation of the gums.
Most times, the culprit for Periodontitis is plaque.
Periodontitis should be treated immediately!
It means if a person with this condition doesn’t pay attention or seek timely treatment, he/she might just wake up to find their ‘alveolar bone’ (supporting the tooth) gone – with the tooth!
Researchers have found that untreated Periodontitis is linked to heart attack, stroke, and some other severe health problems.
One of the best ways to safeguard your oral health against this dark-masked tooth fighter is to take proper care of your mouth.
Some people don’t even know they have periodontitis! They have experienced all the symptoms but still cannot tell when they have periodontal disease and when they just need to brush their mouths. Here are some of the symptoms of periodontitis:
Discomfort and pains while eating
The tooth could become loose and fall off
Teeth (lower and upper) would be as fit as they were together before the condition
Red and swollen gums
Teeth and gums might become sensitive to hot and cold foods
Bleeding after brushing and
Sour mouth taste.
Before things degenerate to the signs we have up there, there must have been earlier indicators of the problem. However, we don’t seem to pay attention well enough.
While still in the budding state, periodontitis is called gingivitis. When blown out of hand, gingivitis becomes what we call periodontitis. It is important to take measures in nipping this chronic problem in the bud before it becomes a destructive condition.
In its worst stage (advanced stage), periodontitis can cause bone loss. Cerebral heart diseases have been traced to periodontitis, according to numerous health care professionals in America.
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Periodontitis isn’t just chronic, it is a long-term inflammatory dental problem that literally ‘slaps the taste out of your mouth.’ And what is worse? it cannot be cured! It causes bone loss. Your mouth gums are easy to replace or repair. You can even regenerate it when ruined but when it involves a loss of the bone supporting the tooth, there is no way back.
Don’t get scared now. Periodontitis is both preventable and treatable, even though it is incurable. Total cooperation with your dental professional is the best way to handle such situations.
Now you know ‘gum disease’ is incurable, so what is/are the treatment and preventive measures?
Practicing Excellent Oral Hygiene
A healthy mouth is one that is well taken care of. Practicing excellent oral hygiene is your best bet if you want to keep plaque and periodontitis away.
Flossing the mouth once a day and brushing it twice at least can help keep infection-causing bacteria away.
For folks with large pockets between their gums and teeth, or between their teeth, experts recommend an interdental brush. On the other hand, soft-picks is the best for those with smaller spaces between.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic in a gelatinous form. It is used in treating periodontitis. It works in the same way as chlorhexidine, controlling the number of bacteria that can inhibit the mouth at a time.
Once scaling and root planning is done, the slow-release medication (doxycycline antibiotic gel) is placed in the periodontitis pockets to shrink their sizes.
Antibiotic microspheres can also be used. These microspheres containing minocycline are applied exactly like doxycycline and perform similar functions by reducing periodontitis pocket sizes.
Doxycycline can also be used as an enzyme suppressant. By that, we mean suppressing the body’s response to some very harmful enzymes produced in the mouth.
In this case, the doxycycline is present in the medication in a very small quantity and can be used orally while involving in scaling and root planing.
Other oral antibiotics can be swallowed as pills in cases of local infection.
4. Scaling and Cleaning
Scaling and cleaning is an effective way of handling gum disease.
It involves the use of manual tools or ultrasonic technology in breaking down plaque or tartar and flushing them out.
After the professional has thoroughly cleaned beneath the gum line, root planning is applied to smoothen out rough patches – a place where periodontitis-causing bacteria thrives and multiplies.
Depending on how much tartar your teeth have accumulated, scaling and cleaning shouldn’t take more than two visits but it is important to visit your dentist for the process at least twice in one year.
A case of severe or advanced periodontitis cannot be solved using any of the above medications. Your best bet is bone and tissue grafts or flap surgery.
For flap surgery, your professional would lift your gums, eliminate tartar and then place your gums back in position. After the process, you’d heal and your gum will stick tightly to your tooth, reducing any pockets for bacterial development.
Bone and tissue graft involves replacing a lost tooth bone with an artificial one or regenerating a ruined tooth tissue.