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Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

by Austin, TX Dentist - Dr. Tor Gotun

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults in the developed world. Periodontal disease occurs when the toxins found in plaque begin to irritate or inflame the gingiva (gum tissue).  The resulting bacterial infection often known as gingivitis, can eventually lead to the destruction of the gum tissue and underlying bone.  If periodontal disease is not treated, it can also lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.

There are many common types of periodontal disease including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.  Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to halt subsequent bone and tissue loss.

Common Signs & Symptoms

It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain.  This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:

  • Unexplained bleeding – Bleeding when brushing, flossing or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection.  The toxins in plaque cause a bacterial infection which makes the tissues prone to bleeding.

  • Pain, redness or swelling – A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red or painful for no apparent reason.  It is essential to halt the progression of the infection before the gum tissue and jaw bone have been affected.  It is also critical to treat the infection before it is carried into the bloodstream to other areas of the body.

  • Longer-looking teeth – Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession.  The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, thus making the teeth look longer and the smile appear more “toothy.”

  • Bad breath/halitosis – Although breath odor can originate from the back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, the food we consume, or from tobacco use, bad breath can also be caused by old food particles that sit between the teeth and underneath the gumline. The deeper gum pockets are able to house more debris and bacteria, causing a foul odor.

  • Loose teeth/change in bite pattern – A sign of rapidly progressing periodontitis is the loosening or shifting of the teeth in the affected area.  As the bone tissue gets destroyed, teeth that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose or may shift in position.

  • Pus – Pus oozing from between the teeth is a definitive sign that a periodontal infection is in progress.  The pus is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

It is of paramount importance to halt the progression of periodontal disease before it causes further damage to the gum tissues and jawbone.  The dentist will initially assess the whole mouth in order to ascertain the progress of the disease.  When a diagnosis has been made, the dentist may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical or surgical treatment or both.

In the case of moderate periodontal disease, the pockets (under the gumline) of the teeth will be completely cleared of debris using a procedure called scaling and root planing.  The pockets may be filled with antibiotics to promote good healing and kill any bacteria that remain.

Severe periodontitis can be treated in several different ways, such as:

  • Laser treatment – This can be used to reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and the gums.

  • Tissue & bone grafting – Where a considerable amount of bone or gum tissue has been destroyed, the dentist may elect to graft new tissue by inserting a membrane to stimulate tissue growth.

  • Pocket elimination surgery – The dentist may choose to perform “flap surgery” to directly reduce the size of the gum pockets.

If you have any further questions about the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, please contact us!

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

If you are reading this testimonial, I assume you are looking to alleviate pain in one or more of your teeth or to improve your smile cosmetically. Either way you can save yourself some time, stop right now and go make an initial evaluation appointment with Dr.Gotun and his staff at their cozy, comfortable office with a relaxing peaceful view of Eanes Creek. You can search the 1200 or more listings in the Austin area and the BEST you could hope for would be to find another dentist equally as skilled and talented as Dr.Gotun. I do NOT think it is possible to get BETTER quality dental work than what you will get at this office.

The one thing that made everything so simple for me was the photographs. During the initial exam Dr.Gotun takes a series of photographs of your teeth along with x-rays. You then get to see your teeth on a laptop screen, in color, up close and larger than life. If you can live with what you see then you can count your blessings and Dr.Gotun will let you be on your way, unless of course you would like to schedule a cleaning!

In my case I could see the damage, decay and buildup from many years of poor oral hygiene and neglect. In addition to the problem teeth that brought me to the dental office I could easily see that most of my teeth were in need of some type of restoration work. Dr. Gotun has my permission to show all of my records to anyone interested in seeing them. I am sure you will be as amazed as I still am at what Dr. Gotun was able to accomplish considering the very poor condition my teeth were in at the start of the process.

The cost was substantial in my case due to amount of work that was required. However, the work was spaced out over several years which made the cost much easier to budget. Dr.Gotun was not on my dental insurance plan, so I accessed some savings and my credit to finance the work and paid it off like any other significant asset I have purchased. My teeth are the most rewarding investment I have ever made.

If I could give anyone one bit of advice other than my story, it would be “do NOT let dental insurance be the major factor that guides your decision-making”. I was never happy with any of the experiences or results I had when I tried to use the dentists that were covered under my plan. I am proof that 12 years on with regular flossing and brushing, the investment in your restoration work done by Dr.Gotun can still be yielding satisfaction and compliments from friends and random strangers.

I have never gone to bed without flossing and brushing after seeing those photographs in my initial visit. Good luck and I hope to be reading your success story here sometime in the future.

Chuck M. Austin, TX

Dr. Tor Gotun probably saved my life and he's added some years to it. You don't usually say that about your dentist, but I believe it in my case.

More than 10 years ago, after many years of neglecting my teeth and an unhealthy life style, I went to Tor, my neighborhood dentist, even though he wasn't on my State of Texas dental insurance network.

I soon learned of the challenges to getting my gums and teeth back to a healthy status. The way Tor explained it, I knew it was complex and that Tor had the skills and vision to get me there, as long as I did my part. I also knew it would take time and not be cheap.

Now, years later, I still have most of my original teeth and only a few very nice, state-of-the art crowns. I am following Tor's advice for taking care of my teeth and gums, including his regular cleaning schedule. What my dental insurance didn't cover, I was able to use Austin Smile Creations' association with Care Credit to finance the costs without any interest charges as long as I pay off balances within a year of each charge.

By the way, we had only one procedure that didn't work out as planned, but Tor made good on it and the solution turned out as good or better.

As a bonus, all of Tor's top flight members are both professional and personable, always considerate of my needs, interests, and schedule.

Bottom line, Tor is better than my expectations. He pays attention to more than just how my mouth looks; he's concerned about my overall health and how my life-style affects, and is affected by, the health of my teeth and gums.

Bill H. Austin, TX

I have been going to Dr. Gotun since he used to have his practice on William Cannon Drive ( 20 years now). Now he is located in Bee Caves. He is an excellent dentist.

The thing I like best about Tor Gotun is he is relatively pain free when administering his shots to numb your mouth. Dentists I have had before always seemed to be a bit heavy handed in this activity.

He is very up to date with modern dental technology. He can make a crown or cap in his office at the moment of your appointment and have you leave with a fully functioning mouth. I have friends who use other dentists who must wander the city of Austin for at least a week with a hollowed out molar stuffed with gauze as they await their topping to arrive by mail to their dentist's office.

The staff is very friendly, and Dr. Gotun will never talk down to you. He is very good at explaining why he is doing something or why he wants to do a procedure. He may have gotten two of my wisdom teeth, but I will still try to hold onto the remaining two regardless of his explaining the safety factors of hanging on to them as you get older.

Randy S. Austin, TX

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Austin Smile Creations
2724 Bee Cave Rd
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 329-5555 URL of Map
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