Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a severe bacterial infection that causes damage to the gums and the teeth’s supporting structures.
Cavities, or dental caries, affect only the tooth. However, periodontal disease affects the gums, the bones around the tooth, and the coverings of the teeth roots. It also affects the tooth membrane.
Both adults and children can get periodontal disease. Statistics show that about 50% of kids in the United States have periodontal disease. However, children are more susceptible to gingivitis, the mildest form of the disease. More advanced types of periodontal disease are not common in kids.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease in Kids
We’ve seen that kids commonly suffer from the mildest form of gum disease, known as gingivitis. It results in the gums becoming swollen, red, and sore.
Keep in mind that periodontal disease isn’t usually painful. Thus, children may not know if they have it. Always look out for the following symptoms in your child:
- Swollen, red, and sore gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding while brushing
- Loose teeth, leading to abnormal spacing
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between gums and teeth
- A change in teeth alignment
These signs may also be indicative of other health issues. If you notice any of them, take your child to the dentist for a proper diagnosis.
How To Treat Periodontal Disease in Children
Your child’s dentist will determine the right treatment for periodontal disease based on:
- Your child’s age and overall health history
- The severity of the disease
- The child’s tolerance for specific medications and procedures
- Your preference
Treatment for the disease may include plaque removal, medication, and surgery. Plaque removal involves deep cleaning, which also eliminates infected tissue in the early phases of the disease. It also helps to smooth the damaged teeth root surfaces.
Surgery becomes necessary if the disease is at an advanced stage. The procedure involves cleaning the infected areas under the gums and then reshaping or replacing the affected tissues.
There are several types of surgeries for treating periodontal disease, including pocket reduction, soft tissue graft, regeneration procedure, and crown lengthening.