What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a type of gum disease. It is a serious infection of the gums and the tissue that supports the teeth. It is usually caused by bacteria that get into this tissue and bone, which then triggers inflammation and progressive destruction of the gums and tissue. This can cause the teeth to become loose and fall out or need to be removed.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontitis

The most common indication of periodontitis is the appearance of red, swollen, or painful gums. Other signs include:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Bleeding and receding gums
  • Gum recession
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Gum abscesses
  • Pain when biting or chewing

Risk Factors of Periodontitis

The following factors may increase your risk for periodontitis:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications, such as steroids, some cancer treatments, and certain antidepressants
  • Family history of periodontal disease
  • Summary

Diagnosis and Treatment of Periodontitis

Your dentist will typically diagnose periodontitis by taking a detailed medical and dental history and then doing a thorough physical exam of the gums and teeth. If periodontitis is suspected, further tests will likely be conducted to evaluate the severity of the condition. Treatment may include scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning process to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, and surgery to repair any damage to the gums and teeth.

Preventive dental care is the best way to avoid periodontitis and associated tooth loss. Regular dental visits and routine cleanings will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Good home oral hygiene and brushing and flossing regularly are also essential. If you have any of the risk factors for periodontitis, be sure to let your dentist know so they can provide extra care and monitoring to catch the disease in its early stages.