Periodontal disease sounds scary, and without treatment, it can be life-altering. With the proper treatment, however, periodontal disease is treatable and can be curable if it is caught early. There is a difference between the early stage of periodontal disease and periodontitis.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a complicated name for gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that are always present in your mouth. When you have a little bacteria in your mouth, it's a good thing because it helps your body digest foods more easily. When there are too many bacteria, the bacteria create acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. That's when cavities can form.
There are three stages of periodontal disease. The mildest stage is called gingivitis. You may have heard of gingivitis from the dentist or in commercials. If you have gingivitis, your gums don't look healthy. Instead, they might look discolored, puffy, or swollen. Your gums could bleed when you brush or floss them. Gingivitis can be cured if you practice good dental hygiene.
Stages two and three of gum disease are called periodontitis. With periodontitis, your gums are always infected, and the infection can't be cured. However, if you have regular deep gum cleanings, your gum infection can be treated and stabilized. Without treatment, periodontitis leads to the gum infection spreading to other areas of your body. You may also experience tooth loss and bone decay.
How Is Periodontitis Treated?
Deep gum cleaning, or scaling, is the best way to treat periodontitis. Dentists or periodontists use special tools to remove tartar above and below the gum line. Unlike regular dental checkups that you have every six months, you will need to get your gums cleaned once every three months. That way, you can keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.