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What Is Periodontal or Gum Disease?

Teeth and irritated gum close up with gum disease at Oregon Periodontics, P.C. A good oral care routine at home, including regular brushing and flossing, is essential for maintaining the health of your mouth. Along with care at home, it is also important to have your mouth professionally cleaned and examined to prevent issues, as well as spot, and treat, issues in their earliest stages. If you regularly skip any part of your oral care routine, your risk of developing periodontal, or gum, disease increases greatly. At Oregon Periodontics, P.C., we can help to treat periodontal disease and restore the health of your mouth.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a serious, progressive, issue that affects the health of your gums, teeth, and their supporting structures. It is caused when plaque and oral bacteria are left to irritate the gum tissue. When the tissue is irritated, the immune system sends an inflammatory response. As a result, the gums swell. This is the earliest, and most easily treatable, stage. It is also the most commonly ignored or unnoticed. As the disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into the pockets and begin to attack periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, both of which begin to weaken. Eventually, you could be faced with loose, or even missing, teeth.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

There are several different causes of periodontal disease, including:
•  Poor oral hygiene. Whether you skip a few brushings here and there, avoid dental visits, or ignore your oral hygiene altogether, poor oral hygiene quickly leads to the buildup of plaque and bacteria.
•  Alignment issues. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean.
•  Smoking. Smoking slows the blood flow and decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. This prevents your body from effectively fighting infection.
•  Drinking. Alcohol causes dry mouth, an ideal environment to support the growth of bacteria.
•  Medications. Certain medications can cause dry mouth.
•  Nutritional deficiencies. A well-balanced diet is important for maintaining good health, including the health of your teeth and gums.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

During your regular dental visits, your teeth and gums are inspected for signs of issues. However, gum disease can strike at any time, so knowing the symptoms can help you to take action quickly:
•  Red, swollen gums.
•  Gum recession, which can lead to root exposure and tooth sensitivity.
•  Spaces between the teeth.
•  Chronic bad breath, caused by the bacteria and debris stuck below the gumline.
•  Loose teeth, which can shift out of their natural alignment.
•  Tooth loss.

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?

There are several different types of treatment for periodontal disease. The exact treatment that you receive depends heavily on the severity of your situation. Treatments include:
•  Scaling and root planing. A deep cleaning of the teeth above the gumline as well as along the root surfaces.
•  Laser treatment. If the gums are too swollen to complete a thorough scaling and root planing, a laser is used to remove the infected tissue, making treatment possible.
•  Pocket reduction surgery. If periodontal pockets are too deep to be cleaned with scaling and root planing, this procedure exposes the entire root surface to make sure every area is cleaned.
•  Grafting. Soft tissue grafts restore the damage done by gum recession. Bone grafts are often used to restore the bone loss caused by periodontal disease, as well as strengthen the jawbone for dental implants.

If you suspect that you have periodontal disease, it is important to seek treatment right away. Call Oregon Periodontics, P.C. today at (503) 575-7750 to schedule your consultation.
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Oregon Periodontics

Office Hours
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
8:00 AM–12:00 PM
11786 Southwest Barnes Rd Suite 210
Portland, OR 97225-5925

Office: (503) 575-7750
Fax: (503) 531-3560

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