Gingivitis, Periodontitis, and Osteomyelitis- Oh My!

As a dentist in Boise, I throw around a lot of dental terminology and I know that sometimes my patients get a little confused about what this or that means. So here is an overview of some Periodontal diseases.

Modern Dental boy with toothbrush

It Starts with Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a type of Periodontal disease, which is a mild gum disease. It basically means that your gums are inflamed. Here are the signs and stages of it as it progresses toward Periodontitis.

1. Bleeding Gums

You’ll notice that your gums will bleed when you brush or floss. Your gums should never bleed without some real trauma taking place. So any bleeding is a sure sign of it.

2. Bad Breath

There is a smell, kind of a stale smell, that comes along with periodontal disease. Bad breath could therefore be a sign of it, however that could be caused by something else as well.

Advanced Gum Disease becomes Periodontitis

Gum disease that isn’t treated or caught early on will develop into periodontitis. Here is a continuation of those signs:

3. Gum Recession

Gum recession happens when it is advancing into more serious stages. You’ll see less and less of that pink gum line and more of the tooth and even tooth roots.

4. Tooth Mobility

Advanced gum disease is evident when you have tooth mobility. Your teeth should really be anchored in there securely and tightly, with little to no movement. If your teeth start to feel a little loose, you need to come in immediately to determine the cause of it. If they are already loose it means they are on their way out. We will do everything we can to save them!

Osteomyelitis of the Jaw

This was mostly for some symmetry so I could use that title. =)

It is definitely not a common ailment that you need to be concerned about contracting. Basically it is when an infection in your teeth or gums spreads to your jaw structure or joint. The takeaway here is to treat these things when they are small and manageable rather than letting them get out of hand.

Treating these -itis’s

The most important thing you can do in the immediate future is to start the regular maintenance on your teeth: brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

keep calm and brush your teeth

At this point, your teeth are in bad shape. Having more bacteria, acid, and plaque on there will just make it harder for your teeth to fight gum disease. Keeping those things to a minimum is a great way to set your teeth up for success.

The second most important thing you can do is to come in and see me at the dental office! This is when we perform a procedure called scaling and root planing. Basically, this is when we go below the gum line to remove tartar buildup and bacteria.

When it is moderate to severe, you may need oral surgery. We can do a couple things in this case. The pocket depths can be reduced or we can open up the tissue to get a look at the state of the teeth roots to clean them more than root planing can.

This is basically a way of deep cleaning your teeth. When they are clean, they are able to repair themselves to a certain extent.

Your teeth are incredibly resilient. However, they aren’t invincible. If the disease has advanced far enough, bone grafting might need to happen so that the teeth or implants can remain securely in your jaw.

The more severe it is, the more intense the treatment. So remember to take care of your teeth on your own as well as coming in to see me regularly. The sooner we catch something like that, the better!

If you have questions about possible periodontitis, give our dental practice in Boise a call. We’ll get you taken care of as quickly as possible.

~Dr. Wagner