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Periodontal disease

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Periodontal disease was given the nick name “trench mouth” based on the soldiers in World War II who were unable to receive proper dental care because they were in the trenches. Periodontal disease lead to severe gingivitis which can cause gums to bleed, ooze pus, was highly painful, and often led to premature tooth loss. While most developed nations have fewer cases of periodontal disease, it does still exist simply due to the high number of employed, working class Americans who are not given dental insurance as part of their benefits package. Dental work is very expensive, and not all patients can afford good dental care.

Periodontal disease is more prevalent in developing nations and in most cases, a professional cleaning and antibiotics can clear up most cases of periodontal disease. However, if left untreated the infection can spread throughout the body and can lead to serious health complications.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of trench mouth are easy to recognize. Symptoms will include painful gums, bad breath, a foul taste to the mouth, fever, gums that bleed with only mild amounts of pressure, crater sized canker sores between the teeth and gums, swollen lymph nodes around the head, neck, or jaw, a gray film on the gums, red gums, swollen gums, and pain when eating and swallowing.
Periodontal disease
Image: Periodontal Disease


A patient’s mouth is always filled with bacteria, as well as fungi and other microorganisms. Typically the bacterium is a healthy condition. This bacteria help protect from disease as well as assists in the breakdown of food. However, patients with periodontal disease have a mouth full of harmful bacteria that has grown far beyond what is normal or healthy. This bacterium is causing an infection that is very painful to live with.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for periodontal disease include poor nutrition, poor dental hygiene, smoking, chewing tobacco, throat infections, tooth infections, mouth infections, a compromised immune system, or emotional stress.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE DIAGNOSIS

Most dental professionals can detect periodontal disease with a simple physical examination. Periodontal disease is very easy to recognize. Dental x-rays and facial x-rays can determine the extent of the periodontal disease. Blood tests can determine whether or not the infection has spread to other parts of the body.

Periodontal disease can lead to infection throughout the body, and if continually left untreated can lead to death. Infection from periodontal disease can destroy the inside of the mouth, including the teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums. In its most severe stages, periodontal disease can destroy the tissue and bone even through the jaw line.
Mouth disease
Image: Mouth Disease

PERIODONTAL DISEASE TREATMENT

In most cases, periodontal disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Treating the patient for pain with significant pain medication usually is done at the same time, allowing them to eat at least soft foods and sleep for a few hours at a time. Most cases of periodontal disease are so painful that patients have interrupted sleep. Laying down can make the pain more intense.


Cleaning the patient’s teeth after being treated with antibiotics is usually necessary. It is normally too painful to clean the patient’s teeth before treatment unless the patient is placed under general anesthesia. Surgery may be required to help badly damaged gums return to normal shape and size, which can prevent early tooth loss.

Once a patient has experienced periodontal disease, it is important that they stay in top of their dental needs. Sometimes the damage done makes their gums prone to further infection. Urging the patient to take the pain medication as needed will help with dietary issues during recovery. Most patients can only handle a soft food or liquid diet for the first few days of treatment, although most were probably only eating sift foods and liquids before treatment. Avoiding extremes in temperatures and spices is usually beneficial. Foods that are too hot or too cold can lead to further irritation. Patients will want to stay well hydrated during treatment, but will want to avoid carbonated beverages and alcohol.
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