Understanding Periodontitis: Can I really lose all my teeth?

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January 5, 2021

Periodontitis is a serious disease of the gums and affects all the surrounding structures of the teeth- the gums, the periodontal ligament, and the bone. If you or someone you love are experiencing any symptoms of periodontitis, it is important to see a dentist immediately. Read on to learn more about this disease, why it occurs, and how you can prevent it. 

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is basically infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Just as we have shock absorbers for our vehicles to keep the vehicles running smooth and function properly similarly the surrounding structures of the gums that is the periodontium act as shock absorbers for our chewing action. Infection of these surrounding structures follows after the infection of the gums that is gingivitis.

The Culprit

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Dental Plaque is the main cause behind gum disease. If left on your teeth for long, plaque can harden or calcify and turn into calculus, which can only be cleaned by a dental professional. Accumulation of dental plaque or calculus leads to gum inflammation or gingivitis. Eventually, they start accumulating below the line of the gums, triggering a response by the body’s immune system. This response by the body leads to the destruction of the tissue around the teeth, and eventually the bones. 

Who should be at higher alert?

Certain factors make one more prone to developing periodontitis. These are – 

  • Heart Disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Respiratory diseases 
  • Blood disorders 
  • Pre-existing genetic conditions 
  • Auto-immune conditions 
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

Signs and Symptoms 

Here are signs of periodontitis that you should look out for :

  • Bright red gums 
  • Bleeding from the gums on touching with a toothbrush or flossing
  • Swollen gums 
  • Soreness or itchiness in the gums 
  • Increased gap in between two teeth 
  • Gum line moving back, or teeth that appear longer than usual (receding gums)
  • Wobbly or movable teeth 
  • Pus in the gums 
  • Foul mouth odor 

What should you do if you see these signs?

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If you experience any of the above signs, you must go see your dentist immediately. Start with salt water rinses as a home remedy to calm down some of the inflammation. It is better not to take any medicines without first asking your dentist. Your dentist may take radiographs of your mouth and ask for a blood test to diagnose the cause and extent of your condition.

Initial Treatment

If your disease is in the early stages, your dentist will start by cleaning your teeth or exposed roots with the help of an ultrasonic scaler. They will also prescribe you mouthwash and any other medicines like antibiotics if you need them.
Periodontitis is generally a long disease that reoccurs very easily if you don’t maintain proper oral hygiene. If your dentist diagnoses you with periodontitis, make sure to go for any follow-up appointments. 

Advanced Treatment


For more serious cases of periodontitis, you may require surgery for your gums. These surgeries generally involve the dentist raising a flap of the gum to better view, and clean the tooth, tissue, and bone under the gums.

Remember, you needn’t be scared at the mention of surgery. The tissues of the periodontium generally have a fast healing rate. All you should do is make sure you follow your dentist’s instructions, take any medication on time, and maintain good oral hygiene. 

What happens if you avoid the dentist?Periodontitis can progress pretty quickly in the absence of oral hygiene. It can lead to bone loss and loose teeth, which makes eating very difficult. If allowed to progress, you may lose all your teeth! For people with pre-existing diseases, periodontitis can also have a role in exacerbating these. Thus, It is necessary to get treated immediately. 

Periodontitis is Easily Preventable. If you make your oral hygiene a priority, It will definitely pay off! 

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  1. Suhas M - gum surgery exist, with flap surgery . I didn't knew this earlier.

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