How to Diagnose Periodontal Infections and the Treatment Options
A healthy person has hundreds of bacteria in the mouth. Most of them are harmless, while others are harmful. When you don’t have good oral hygiene, your mouth becomes prone to harmful bacteria. The harmful bacteria multiply and release toxins that cause gum infections.
Symptoms of Gum Infection
The symptoms of gum disease depend on its stage, but the general signs include:
- Bleeding gums when brush or flossing
- Loosening of the teeth
- Bad breath
- Tender, red, and swollen gums
- Receding of the gums
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Feeling pain while chewing
- Tooth loss
- Inflammatory reactions throughout the body, especially in its advanced stages
Causes of Periodontitis
When you don’t brush your teeth properly or floss reaching the hard-to-reach parts, the following happens:
- Bacteria in your mouth multiply, forming a substance known as plaque
- If you don’t remove the plaque while brushing or flossing, the bacteria deposits minerals on it, forming tartar
- As your body’s immune system reacts towards the formation of tartar, it causes inflammation on your gums
- Inflammation disrupts the attachment of your gums to teeth’s roots, forming periodontal pockets
- The periodontal pockets provide a habitat for bacteria to multiply and release toxins that cause damage to the gums, teeth, and jawbone
The signs and symptoms of periodontitis are not easily noticeable in the early stages. Therefore, regular dental check-ups are helpful. During the routine examinations, your dentist can point out the early signs and develop a treatment plan for you.
Factors That Put You at Risk of Periodontitis
Other than poor oral hygiene, the following factors put at a higher risk of developing gum disease:
- Smoking or using tobacco products
- Type 2 diabetes and obesity
- Medications that cause a dry mouth
- Poor nutrition such as vitamin C deficiency
- Hormonal changes, especially among pregnant women
Clinical Diagnosis of Gum Infections
Your dentist can detect the early signs of gum disease during a routine dental exam and cleaning. If you are at risk of developing gum infections, the dentist will recommend monitoring overtime to make sure your condition doesn’t get worse.
To check for gum infections, your dentist will use a tiny rule known as a probe. The dentist uses the small ruler to measure the size of the periodontal pockets. If there are plaque and tartar deposits in the pockets, your dentist will remove them as part of the dental cleaning.
The dentist can also take x-rays of your gums or carry out blood tests to check for infections in your gums.
The goal of periodontal treatment is to control gum infection. Therefore, your dentist will assess your gums first to help in developing the treatment plan.
Periodontal treatments involve the following:
- Deep cleaning. During a deep cleaning procedure, your dentist uses a device to reach beneath the gums. The dentist can use a scaler to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. Also, the dentist can perform a root planing procedure to smoothen the surfaces of your teeth and encourage reattachment of your gums to teeth’s roots.
- Antiseptic chips or microspheres. Your dentist will insert tiny gels into the periodontal pockets. The antiseptic chips release medication slowly, killing bacteria and reducing the gum pockets.
- Antibiotic gels. After a deep cleaning procedure, your dentist can apply an antibiotic gel on the gums to help in controlling the gum infections.
- Enzyme suppressants. Your dentist can prescribe an enzyme suppressant that blocks the activity of some enzymes that break down your gum tissue.
In case your gum condition is not treatable through deep cleaning and medications, your dentist can recommend surgery.
To prevent bone loss and exposure of your teeth’s roots, you can undergo a gum graft surgery. The dentist will take tissue from your palate and cover the parts of the exposed teeth roots. Also, the dentist can perform flap surgery to remove tartar.
Preventing Gum Diseases
To prevent gum infections, you need to practice good oral hygiene and avoid all factors that cause tooth decay. At Paradise Dental, we advise the following:
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Floss at least once in a day
- Visit your oral hygienist or dentist for dental cleanings and check-ups
- Avoid eating sticky and sugary foods, especially children, since they can cause tooth decay that progresses to gum infections