08 May How do I know if I have gum disease?
Discover in a simple way if you suffer Gingivitis or Periodontitis (before called Piorrea)
Periodontitis is one of the most common diseases in the world population (the 6th according to the WHO) and is characterized by the destruction of the gum (connective tissue) and the teeth supporting bone as a result of an inflammation caused by a bacterial infection . The infection and inflammation around the tooth affect different structures such as the gums, the cement covering the root, the periodontal ligament, and the alveolar bone. Depending on the stage of the disease, these structures will be more or less affected and the symptoms that we will recognize will depend on the development of the disease.
Bleeding from the gums is an early sign that indicates the presence of bacteria and the tissue is inflamed (gingivitis). If we do not act in consequence by eliminating the cause of this inflammation the infection may progress and reach deeper structures (periodontitis). Once the disease progresses, the supporting tissues are lost until the teeth starts moving therefore the only solution is to be removed.
The cause of periodontal disease is the presence of bacteria and can be affected by a multitude of risk factors: genetic susceptibility, smoking, diabetes, stress … It has also been shown in many schientific studies that the presence of this inflammation directly affects general health such as: increases the risk of heart attack, premature births and aspiration pneumonia, in addition to worsening diabetes.
To know if we have periodontitis we should look at the different symptoms that indicate some type of involvement of the periodontal tissues. In the first phase of the disease, inflammation is limited in the gum causing what we call gingivitis. To detect if we suffer from gingivitis we must observe the state of the gums and detect if they are not in their normal situation. A healthy gum has a pink color and a firm consistency that covers the entire surface of the tooth root. It does not bleed under any normal stimulus. Out of these characteristics we will find the symptoms that will indicate us that we suffer from gingivitis. We will see that the gum has a reddish color and possibly a size greater than normal due to inflammation. The gums will probably bleed with any stimulus such as brushing or flossing. Another sign of gingivitis can be bad breath along with the rest of the symptoms.
If in this phase we do not act in a way that we control the causative agent, the bacteria, we will see a progression from gingivitis to periodontitis. At this point there is already involvement of the supporting bone and the rest of the periodontal tissues. The symptoms of gingivitis will remain present and will even be more accentuated. The gum can be sensitive to the touch and we can find infection between the tooth and the soft tissue. The separation of the gum from the tooth and the resorption of underlying bone will form periodontal pocket around the tooth. These bags create a space in which bacteria will accumulate and we will probably find accumulated calculus in this area in addition to the calculation that may be above the gum.
The presence of bacteria in the mouth causes bad breath and at the same time can cause bad taste on the patient. Due to the bone’s loss , the teeth will have less and less supportive tissue and will consequently move. Depending on the remaining bone, the mobility of the teeth may be greater or lesser. Because of this mobility, its alignment can vary affecting the occlusion of the upper arch with the lower arch. So, we can notice altered our usual way of biting.
Also because of the bone loss we will see how the gum is retracted forming recessions in the tooth that will expose the roots of the teeth showing the lack of bone. We will also see how because the gum retracts the papillae will no longer cover the volume between the teeth and dark triangular spaces (known as black spaces) will form between them.
Periodontal disease can be a long process that transforms normal anatomy and a healthy smile into a mouth that requires complex treatments to preserve teeth or even loss of teeth. Knowing the initial symptoms of periodontal disease, we will be able to recognize when we should correct our behavior regarding oral hygiene and thus prevent progression to more advanced stages. We can detect these symptoms ourselves and go to the dentist and / or periodontist. If we go regularly to checking of prevention and maintenance, the hygienists and periodontist can warn us and treat them early, greatly reducing the consequences of periodontitis and avoiding the loss of teeth, functional consequences (eating worse), aesthetics (smile, self-esteem) ) and also those related to general health.
Professor Dr. José Nart Molina, renowned periodontist in Barcelona and medical director of Nart Clínica Dental Barcelona, invites you to take the Gingival Health Test of the Spanish Society of Periodontics and Dental Implants (SEPA). If you suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis do not let it progress, treat yourself as soon as possible, is possible to recover your health and stop the infection and currently simple in a little invasive in most of cases.