When many people consider oral health, they immediately think of concerns regarding the teeth. This can be anything from cavities to lost fillings, as well as cracked and chipped teeth. Concerns about gum disease are increasing in the public awareness, but the extent of damage that can occur from poor gum health also extends to the structure of the jaw. Once bone begins to deteriorate, serious issues may arise.
Periodontal disease refers to a condition that is initially manifest in the gums, but also has effect on tooth health, the condition of the jaw, and the wellness of surrounding tissues. It may be frequently confused with gingivitis by patients, since many of the manifest symptoms are similar. Swelling, redness, and bleeding are all signs that gum health is not at its best, and both gingivitis and periodontal disease have this in common.
While gingivitis is in essence the gums showing an immune response to the presence of bacteria on the surface of the oral mucosa, periodontal disease has a much deeper effect. The inflammation in this case also effects how nutrients are able to pass into the tissue of the jaw bone, and deterioration of the surrounding areas can occur. This may lead to loss of teeth and loss of mandibular structural integrity.
At Island Dental Associates, we have experienced staff members who can provide periodontal services. This includes not only diagnosing the presence of the disease, but also taking steps to treat it and to halt the damage. Along with treatment of the gums and rebalancing oral health, further reconstructive steps may need to be taken. Practices such as the insertion of dental implants to stabilize loss of bone, and the replacement of teeth are also a part of the practice. The extent of restructuring or surgery will depend upon how advanced the disease is.
Along with the above symptoms, further effects may also signal a serious issue. This may include recession along the gum line, especially to the point where the roots of teeth are showing and pain in the jaw. These aches may be along the lines of muscle, as this disease does affect surrounding tissue, but it may also feel as though it is radiating from the bone itself. Some patients with this disease have even reported recurrent pressure headaches as the bones within the face are shifting due to degeneration.
Catching periodontal disease early is key to an easy treatment and less maintenance practices over time. If you are concerned about the condition of your gums, you can come in for a consultation.