What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is severe gum disease that can make your teeth loose or fall out.
Infection weakens the tissue that holds your teeth in place
Symptoms include sore, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath Bad Breath Bad breath is a frequent or persistent unpleasant odor to the breath. Certain diseases produce substances that are detectable on the breath, but these odors are typically mild and not considered... read more , and loose teeth
Dentists treat periodontitis with repeated cleanings, dental surgery, and/or antibiotics
Periodontitis is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults
What causes periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a severe form of gingivitis Gingivitis The gingiva is your gums. Having "-itis" at the end of a word means inflammation. Gingivitis is when your gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis that isn't treated can cause... read more . Gingivitis is caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky film full of germs that builds up on your teeth. Plaque that stays on your teeth for more than a few days and hardens is called tartar.
The buildup of tartar on your teeth below the gums causes periodontitis. The tartar irritates your gums and allows germs to grow. First, this causes gingivitis Gingivitis The gingiva is your gums. Having "-itis" at the end of a word means inflammation. Gingivitis is when your gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis that isn't treated can cause... read more . If you don't get treated, the germs eventually weaken the tissue and bone that hold your teeth. Then your teeth get loose and eventually fall out.
You usually get periodontitis from:
Not brushing and flossing enough
Not getting regular cleanings at the dentist
Periodontitis happens faster in some people than others, even when they have the same amount of tartar. You may be more likely to get periodontitis if you have:
Leukopenia (a lower number of white blood cells which can make you more likely to get sick)
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Early symptoms of periodontitis include:
Bleeding and redness of your gums
Later symptoms include:
Front teeth tilting outward
If you don’t get treatment, periodontitis can cause tooth loss.
What will happen at my dental appointment?
Dentists will examine your teeth, then they will:
Measure how far your gums have pulled away from your teeth
How do dentists treat periodontitis?
Dentists treat periodontitis with:
Repeated cleanings in the dentist's office
The dentist cleans deep around the roots of your teeth. You'll also need to clean your teeth well at home and use special mouth rinses. If this doesn't cure your periodontitis, the dentist may:
Do surgery on your gums
Give you antibiotic pills or place antibiotics under the infected gums
Rarely, pull the affected teeth
You'll need to come back to your dentist for follow-up appointments.