Posted on: 20 May 2015Share
Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that affects not only the gum tissue, but the nearby ligaments and bones as well. This destructive disease can eventually lead to tooth loss or other serious complications. One form of this disease, aggressive periodontitis, destroys your tissues faster than other forms, and is a major concern for smokers. Here's what you need to know about this very destructive gum disease.
What causes aggressive periodontitis?
Aggressive periodontitis is caused by plaque, the bacteria-filled film that's left behind on your teeth and gums after you eat. Brushing and flossing removes this plaque, but if you don't brush or floss often enough, the plaque remains in place and irritates your gums, causing an infection. In people with aggressive periodontitis, this infection progresses quickly.
What are the signs of aggressive periodontitis?
Aggressive periodontitis causes lots of noticeable changes inside your mouth. Your gums will be swollen, sore, and may bleed when you touch them. They'll also be a darker color than normal, either red or purple, due to the inflammation. You may also see your gums pulling away from your teeth, which makes your teeth look longer than usual, and can cause sensitivity at the base of your teeth.
Aggressive periodontitis progresses quickly, so you'll soon notice more serious symptoms like pus accumulating between your teeth and loose teeth. Your teeth may also feel different when you bite down; this is because they have loosened and shifted positions inside your mouth.
Why is it a major concern for smokers?
Smoking is one of the major risk factors for this condition, but it doesn't just lead to the disease; it also makes it worse. Smoking also leads to worsened outcomes among patients with aggressive periodontitis. Studies have shown that smokers experience more destruction of tissue beneath more teeth than non-smokers do.
Smokers are also harder for dentists to treat than non-smokers are since they don't respond as well to common treatments for the condition. This is because smoking affects the blood flow to your gum tissue and keeps it from healing as well. Former smokers are as easy to treat as non-smokers, so if you're diagnosed with aggressive periodontitis, your dentist will ask you to quit smoking.
How will your dentist treat the condition?
Aggressive periodontitis is harder to treat than conventional periodontitis, so dentists need to use a combination of treatment methods to treat it. First, your dentist will perform a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. Your dentist will thoroughly clean the teeth, gums, and roots of the teeth, to remove all traces of the plaque and bacteria that cause aggressive periodontitis. Cleaning isn't enough by itself, so your dentist will also use antibiotics.
Aggressive periodontitis is caused by many different types of bacteria, and no antibiotic can kill all of them. Your dentist will use a combination of antibiotics to treat the many types of bacteria in your gum tissue. These antibiotics can be delivered in gel or pill form, or they can even be injected directly into your gums.
How common is aggressive periodontitis?
Aggressive periodontitis is a rare type of gum disease. Studies have shown that it only affects about 1.65% of the population. It's three times more common in women than in men. It also disproportionately affects smokers. More than 57% of people with aggressive periodontitis are smokers.
Aggressive periodontitis is a major problem for smokers. Smoking increases your risk of developing the disease, and worse, it makes the disease both more serious and harder to treat. If you're a smoker and your gums hurt, make an appointment with a dentist or a place like Dental Associates PC right away.