If you’re having issues with your teeth or have visited your dentist and been told that you have advanced periodontal disease, you may have some questions about what that means and what can be done about it.advanced periodontal disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease starts out with relatively minor warning signs. They can be easily missed or ignored by patients, which is why you need to visit your dentist regularly. If you haven’t done so, periodontal disease can continue to progress.

What Are the Signs of Advanced Periodontal Disease?

Exposed Roots – As it progresses, your gums will start to pull away from your teeth, creating pockets where food and blood can collect. This exposes the unprotected roots of your teeth to plaque and the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Since the roots of your teeth don’t have the enamel to protect them from the bacteria in your mouth, cavities are more likely to develop as periodontal disease progresses.

Halitosis – As periodontal disease advances, it starts causing untreatable bad breath. This is not only from tooth decay, but also from blood and rotting food collecting in cavities and pockets in your gums.

Tooth and Gum Pain – as your gums take more damage and start to peel away from your teeth, they will become more and more injured. They will bleed more often and with less aggravation. They will turn red and lose firmness as they lose the battle with infection that will build in your mouth. Your teeth will start to hurt as they develop cavities which will grow over time and can cause your teeth to crack or break. Abscesses from untreated infections will cause pressure and pain in your jaw and cheeks.

Bone Loss – infection in your gums and tooth will travel down to your jawbone. Abscesses will start to destroy healthy bone tissue in your jaw. Destroyed jaws lead to a symptom you can’t ignore.

Tooth Loss – without gums to protect roots, your jawbone will start to take damage. As it dissolves, it loses its grip on your teeth. When there isn’t enough jawbone around the roots of your tooth to hold it secure or when the tendons in the root of your tooth are too damaged to hold on, you will lose the tooth or teeth.

Advanced periodontal disease is often not fully reversible as it would be in the earlier stages. If you end up losing jawbone or teeth from lack of proper dental care, you may find it difficult to replace missing teeth considering the state of your jaw. If you don’t replace it, your other teeth can start shifting around because your tooth isn’t there as a placeholder. This can cause even more tooth pain from alignment changes in your mouth. It can also lead to bruxism (tooth grinding), especially at night, from tooth pain and malocclusion. Bruxism can cause damage to your teeth including cracks, which can lead to more cavities and more lost teeth.

It’s important to avoid advanced periodontal disease at all costs. If you find yourself in this position, it isn’t too late to try to undo some of the damage or prevent future damage, but you should know that your mouth is never going to be as healthy as it was. If your mouth is still healthy enough to consider fixed bridges or dental implants, you’ll have to spend more time caring for your teeth to prevent infection than you’re supposed to be spending now, so it will be important to work with your dentist to try to get any form of periodontal disease under control to avoid having to deal with these types of problems in the future.

Talk to your dentist about how to avoid periodontal disease and your risk factors. Periodontal disease is not just potentially damaging to you, in that it increases your risk of developing a heart attack or stroke, or raises your blood sugar levels. It’s also potentially damaging to your fetus if you’re pregnant. Pregnant women with periodontitis are more likely to give birth prematurely, which is why it’s doubly important to see your dentist when you’re pregnant to avoid complications. Periodontal disease is treatable, and the sooner you start, the less damage you’ll have to recover from.