young man examining his teeth and gums in the mirrorYou’ve likely heard the terms “gingivitis” and “gum disease”. You may be less familiar with the term “periodontitis”. Today, our team at Metropolitan Dental Care defines periodontitis and explores its causes and symptoms. Additionally, we will also discuss periodontal care in Lone Tree, including the types of treatment available at our practice.

What is Periodontitis?

Gum disease is a broad, all-encompassing term for inflammation or infection of the gums. Gingivitis is the first stage, and is characterized by red, inflamed gums. Periodontitis, on the other hand, develops once the infection seeps beneath the gum line and begins to erode the supporting bone. This condition may be mild, moderate, or severe.

What Causes Periodontitis?

Two of the most common causes of periodontitis are excessive plaque accumulation and overall poor oral hygiene. However, it is important to note that some patients are genetically predisposed to gum disease. Therefore, poor hygiene isn’t always to blame.

Types of Periodontitis

There are several different types of periodontitis, including:

  • Chronic periodontitis: The most common type of periodontitis, this condition is characterized by receding gums, deep periodontal pockets around the teeth, and chronic inflammation of the gums.
  • Aggressive periodontitis: Usually genetic in nature, aggressive periodontitis presents suddenly, causing loss of gum attachment and chronic bone deterioration. In most cases, this condition is evident in otherwise healthy individuals who have a strong family history of gum disease.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis: Necrosis is the clinical term for tissue death. This type of periodontitis is less common, and results in deterioration of the gingival tissues, periodontal ligaments, and supporting bone. In many cases, necrotizing periodontitis is present in individuals with immuno-suppressant disorders, such as HIV.
  • Systemic disease-related periodontitis: Patients who are diagnosed with systemic diseases early in life may suffer from periodontitis. Common factors include heart disease, respiratory disorders, diabetes and similar conditions.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Oftentimes, patients may not even realize they have gum disease until it has progressed into periodontitis. Common warning signs to watch for include:

  • Bad breath or bad taste
  • Tooth mobility
  • Red or purple gums
  • A metal-like taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen or inflamed gum tissue
  • A change in your bite
  • New, sudden spaces between the teeth

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, schedule a visit with your dentist right away. If he or she can detect gum disease in the early stages, you have a much better chance of preserving your overall oral health.

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

To diagnose gum disease, your doctor will need to perform periodontal charting. During this process, he or she will insert a small instrument called a periodontal probe between the tooth and the gum tissue. This instrument will determine how many millimeters of bone loss has occurred. Pockets measuring one to three millimeters are healthy. Teeth measuring four millimeters are showing signs of gingivitis, while anything higher denotes periodontitis.

Periodontal Care in Lone Tree

If you have periodontitis, there are several treatment offered at Metropolitan Dental Care. These include:

  • Scaling and root planing: Also known as a deep dental cleaning, scaling and root planing removes infection beneath the gum line and also smooths the teeth roots to deter recontamination. This nonsurgical treatment is typically used to address mild to moderate periodontitis.
  • Gum surgery: If periodontitis has become too advanced, gum surgery will be required. During this procedure, your doctor will move the gums back away from the teeth, clean out the infection, and reposition the tissue.
  • Tissue regeneration: Two of the most common side effects of periodontitis are gum recession and bone loss. Regenerative procedures can replace lost gum and bone tissue, giving patients the best chance for long-term oral health.

Learn More about Periodontal Care in Lone Tree

If you would like to know more about periodontal care in Lone Tree, schedule an appointment at Metropolitan Dental Care. For over thirty years, our practice has been serving families in Denver, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, and Highlands Ranch. Contact us by calling 303-534-2626.