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Understanding Severe Gingivitis & Periodontal Gum Disease

Periodontal Gum DiseaseGenerally called Gum Disease, Periodontitis is also known as Periodontal Disease. It begins with bacterial growth in mouth & if not treated properly may end with tooth loss due to destruction of tissue surrounding teeth.

Difference between Gingivitis & Periodontitis

Gingivitis is generally a gum inflammation that precedes periodontitis, which is a gum disease. However, it would be important to understand that not all gingivitis eventually progresses to periodontitis. Bacteria in plaque buildup usually cause gums to become inflamed & easily bleed during brushing of teeth in early stages of gingivitis. Even though gums are irritated at this stage, teeth are still firmly planted within their sockets. No irreversible tissue damage or bone loss has occurred at this point of time. Gingivitis however can effectively advance to periodontitis if it is left untreated. Inner layer of gum & bone pull away from teeth & form pockets in people with periodontitis. Spaces between gums & teeth collect debris in this condition & become infected. In the meanwhile, body’s immune system takes up the fight with bacteria as plaque spreads & steadily grows beneath the gum line. The fight between the toxins or poisons produced by bacteria in plaque & good enzymes of the body involved in combating infections begin to bread-down bone & connective tissue which hold teeth in place. With progression of gum disease, these pockets deepen & more bone & gum tissue are destroyed. Teeth are therefore no longer anchored in place when this happens. They eventually become loose & result in tooth loss. It is an established fact that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.

Also Read Importance of Oral & Dental Hygiene

Causes of Gum Disease

Primary cause of gum disease is build-up of plaque. Other factors which contribute to periodontal disease include some of the following.

  • Hormonal ChangesThese are changes which naturally occur during puberty, monthly menstruation, pregnancy & menopause which make gums more sensitive & therefore easier for development of gingivitis.
  • IllnessesIt can affect the condition of gums. Diseases like HIV or cancer also interfere with the immune system. Since diabetes affects body’s ability to utilize blood sugar, patients with this disease are at an elevated risk of developing infections like cavities & periodontal disease.
  • Medications Affect Oral HealthMedications generally affect oral health as some of these lessen flow of saliva which offers a protective effect on gums & teeth. Drugs like anti-angina drug Adalat & Procardia & anticonvulsant medication Dilantin cause abnormal growth of gum tissue as well.
  • Bad HabitsThis includes smoking which makes it harder for tissue of the gums to repair themselves.
  • Poor Oral HygieneHabits like not brushing & flossing regularly will make it easier for development of gingivitis.
  • Family History of Dental DiseaseThis can also be a factor contributing for gingivitis to develop.

Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease typically progresses painlessly while producing few obvious signs which are experienced in the late stages of this disease. Even though symptoms of periodontal disease are quite subtle in nature, this condition is not entirely devoid of any warning signs. There are certain symptoms which point to some form of disease. Common symptoms of gum disease include the following.

  • Gums which bleed during & after brushing teeth.
  • Tender, swollen and/or red gums.
  • Persistent bad taste or bad breath in mouth.
  • Receding gums.
  • Formation of deep pockets between gums & teeth.
  • Shifting or loose teeth.
  • Changes in way teeth fit upon biting or in fitting of partial dentures.

Even when gum disease patients do not notice any symptoms, they may still be having some degree of gum disease. In some cases gum disease may only affect certain teeth, like the molars. Only a periodontist or dentist can effectively recognize & determine progression of gum disease.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Dentists will typically check for the following during dental examination.

  • Gum swelling, bleeding, firmness & depth of pockets which is the space between tooth & gum. Gum disease is more severe when these pockets are larger & deeper.
  • Teeth movement & sensitivity along with proper teeth alignment.
  • Jawbone examination will help detect breakdown of bone surrounding teeth.

Treatment of Gum Disease

Treatment of gum disease should include promoting reattachment of healthy gums to teeth along with reducing depth of pockets & swelling, eliminating risk of infection & to stop progression of gum disease. However, treatment options will depend upon the spread of disease & how each case has responded to earlier treatments including overall health of the patient. Options can range from nonsurgical therapies which are designed to control bacterial growth to surgery which is meant to restore supportive tissues.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Gum Disease

Gum disease treatments which do not involve surgery include the following.

  • Professional Dental CleaningDental hygienists or dentists will remove plaque & tartar from above & below gum line of teeth during a typical dental checkup. Plaque builds up & hardens on tooth surface & can only be removed with professional help. Dentists usually recommend professional dental cleaning jobs more than twice a year for people who are having signs of gum disease.
  • Root Planing & ScalingThis is a deep-cleaning nonsurgical procedure which is generally performed under a local anesthetic. Tartar & plaque from below & above the gum line are scraped away (scaling) & rough spots on tooth root are smoothened (planning) during this procedure. Smoothing rough spots will remove bacteria & provide a cleaner surface for gums to reattach to teeth. Scaling & root planning are done in case the periodontist or dentist determines that the patient is having plaque & calculus. Hardened plaque which is called tartar needs to be removed from under the gums during this dental procedure. Recommended Related to Oral Health

Surgical Treatment Procedures for Gum Disease

Some good examples of surgical gum disease treatment are listed below.

  • Pocket Reduction Surgery / Flap SurgeryGums are lifted back & tartar removed during this surgical procedure. Irregular surfaces of damaged bone are also smoothed so as to limit areas that allow disease-causing bacteria to hide in some cases. Gums are then subsequently placed so that tissue snugly fits around tooth. This surgical method eventually reduces size of space between tooth & gum, consequently decreasing areas where harmful bacteria can grow, thereby decreasing the chance of developing serious health problems associated with periodontal gum disease.
  • Bone GraftsDental Bone Grafting Surgery procedure utilizes fragments of the patient’s own bone so as to replace bone destroyed by gum disease. These grafts offer a platform for re-growth of bone which eventually restores stability to teeth. This is a new technology which is known as tissue engineering which encourages patient’s own body to regenerate tissue & bone at an accelerated pace.
  • Soft Tissue GraftsThis is a procedure which fills or reinforces thin gums in places where they have receded. Grafted tissue which is most often taken from roof of the mouth is stitched in place, thereby adding tissue to affected areas.
  • Guided Tissue RegenerationGenerally performed when bone supporting teeth have been destroyed, guided tissue regeneration stimulates bone & gum tissue growth. Often performed in combination with flap surgery, this involves inserting a small piece of mesh-like fabric in-between bone & gum tissue. This procedure keeps gum tissue from growing into areas where bone should while at the same time allowing bone & connective tissue to re-grow so as to better support teeth.
  • Bone SurgeryThis is a procedure designed to smoothen shallow craters in bone which happen due to moderate & advanced bone loss. Bone around tooth is reshaped to decrease these craters following flap surgery. Eventually bone surgery makes it harder for bacteria to collect & grow within these spaces.

However, in some patients the nonsurgical procedure of scaling & planing is all that is required in treating gum disease. Surgery is required only when tissue around teeth is unhealthy & is not possible to be repaired with nonsurgical treatment options.

Medications Used in Treating Gum Disease

Antibiotic treatments are most often used alone or in combination with surgery & other therapies in order to reduce or temporarily eliminate bacteria associated with gum disease. It is also used to suppress destruction of tooth’s attachment to bone. Common drugs used to control plaque & gingivitis in mouth or in periodontal pockets include Chlorhexidine marketed as prescription only brands like PerioGard, PerioChip, Peridex & numerous other over-the-counter names are antimicrobial in nature. These medications are available as mouth rinse or as gelatin-filled chips which are to be placed in pockets after root planing. These slowly release medication over a period of seven days. Other antibiotics which are used in treating gum disease include minocycline, tetracycline & doxycycline as determined by the dentist. Additionally, a nonprescription based toothpaste which contains fluoride & an antibiotic called triclosan which is meant to reduce plaque & gingivitis is also often recommended for treating severe gum disease.

Preventive Measures for Gum Disease

Gum disease can be effectively reversed in nearly all cases where proper control of plaque is practiced. Proper control of plaque consists of professional cleanings performed at least twice a year along with daily brushing & flossing at home. While brushing eliminates plaque from surface of teeth that can be reached, flossing will remove plaque & food particles in-between teeth & under gum line. Antibacterial rinsing of mouth will also reduce bacteria which cause plaque & gum disease. Other healthy lifestyle changes will also help decrease risk, severity & speedy development of gum disease. Some such lifestyle changes are mentioned below.

  • Stop SmokingUse of tobacco is a significant risk factor contributing to development of periodontitis. People who smoke are seven times more likely to contact gum disease than nonsmokers. Smoking also lowers chances of success in some treatments.
  • Reduce StressThis is important simply because stress makes it difficult for the body’s immune system to fight with infection.
  • Maintaining a Well-Balanced DietProper diet & nutrition will empower the immune system fight with infection. Consuming foods rich in antioxidant properties, like green leafy vegetables, nuts & vegetable oils containing vitamin E & potatoes, broccoli & citrus fruits containing vitamin C will help the patient’s body effectively repair damaged tissue.
  • Avoid Clenching & Grinding TeethCertain actions like clenching & grinding teeth put excessive force on supporting tissues of teeth & can also increase the rate of destruction of these tissues.

Some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease despite maintaining good oral hygiene practices & making healthy lifestyle choices. People who are genetically predisposed may be six times more likely to develop some type of gum disease. Therefore, if anyone in the patient’s family having gum disease will mean that he or she is at greater risk as well. Dentists or periodentists may in such cases recommend more frequent check-ups, professional cleanings & treatments so as to better manage conditions among people who are more susceptible to gum disease.

Potential Links between Gum Disease & Other Health Conditions

Researchers have unveiled potential links between gum disease & quite a few other serious health conditions. Bacteria in mouth making its way into the bloodstream, is usually harmless among people with healthy immune systems. However, under certain circumstances, these very same microorganisms are associated with health problems like heart disease & stroke. Moreover, diabetes is not just a risk factor for gum disease, but gum disease can also make diabetes get worse.

Affordable Treatment for Severe Gingivitis & Periodontal Gum Disease in India

Periodontitis is an advanced version of gum disease. Chronic periodontitits affects a large section of adult population & can lead to loss of tissue & bone which support teeth & may become more severe with passage of time. Consequently, teeth will become loose & fall out. Although this condition slowly gets worse, there can also be in some cases periods of rapid progression. With costs of healthcare including dental procedures touching the sky in developed countries, medical solutions in India are still affordable & ideal for people willing to travel across the world. Hospitals & dental clinics in India are equipped with the latest technologies alongside maintaining international standards. IndianMedTrip is one of the fastest growing healthcare tourism companies in South Asia & is associated with top surgeons, dentists & best hospitals in the country. Offering a variety of low cost medical solutions including dental treatments for severe gingivitis & periodontal gum disease, healthcare professionals at IndianMedTrip would be delighted to combine an exotic recuperative vacation at reasonable costs so as to make your health travel a memorable experience.

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