An advanced case of pyorrhea
Pyorrhea, or periodontitis, is an advanced stage of periodontal disease in which the ligaments and bones that support the teeth become inflamed and infected. If left untreated, resulting bone loss could cause loosening and the eventual loss of teeth.
Pyorrhea is usually a result of advanced gingivitis, a periodontal disease that infects the gum through the buildup of plaque. The main cause of pyorrhea is poor oral hygiene; however, the following can also increase the risk of periodontitis:
- health problems, such as chronic illness, glandular disorders, and blood disease
- eating a diet high in sugar
- general, unhealthy lifestyle choices (smokin,g drug, use of excessive alcohol)
- a deficiency of vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, folic acid, or niacin.
Periodontal disease is usually painless, so it’s not unusual for it to go undetected. However, there are some telling symptoms to watch out for:
- bad breath, or halitosis
- red, inflamed, bleeding, or receding gums
- mouth abscesses or ulcers
- deep pockets between the teeth and gums
- loose teeth
An in-office workup, consisting of a dental history and a general oral examination, is usually sufficient to diagnose pyorrhea. Tests are rarely needed, but can include:
- x-rays: to determine the extent of structural damage to the bones in your mouth
- periodontal ccreening and recording (PSR): this procedure measures the depth of your gums, or gingiva, to determine if there has been recession of the gum-line. It can be done manually by your dentist or with a small mechanical device. PSR is usually quick and painless.
Brushing adequately twice a day at the gum line, as well as and flossing daily, is the best method for preventing pyorrhea. Regular, twice-a-year checkups where a professional cleaning is administered and a dentist can check for early signs of periodontitis is also key. Avoid smoking, as it can exacerbate symptoms and prevent healing.
If detected early, periodontal diseases can be treated through nonsurgical procedures such as scaling and root planning (deep cleaning of the root that removes plaque and tartar from gum pockets). However, surgical treatment may be required in advanced pyorrhea to prevent further bone loss and/or regenerate bone when needed.
Find a dentist in your area if you suspect you have pyorrhea or periodontitis.