Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease 

Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone around the teeth. Plaque is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria multiply and if gone unattended, transforms into calculus (tartar). They progressively destroy the bone and gums in the mouth. If gums are swollen, red, and bleeding, it may be a sign of periodontal disease.

Since the initial stages of the disease are painless, periodontal often times goes undetected; Four out of five individuals have periodontal disease and do not know. The disease is the number one cause of tooth loss. Studies show there is a potential link between other diseases and periodontal disease – such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, and amplified risk of these diseases during pregnancy.  A healthy diet, proficient oral hygiene, and regular dental check-ups can reduce the hazards of periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Tenderness or Discomfort: Bacteria, Plaque, and calculus inflame the gums and teeth.
  • Receding gums: Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Persistent bad breath: Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Bleeding gums: Gums should never bleed, even when brushed vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth: Caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers that support the tooth to the bone.
  • New spacing between teeth: Caused by bone loss.
  • Pus around the gums or teeth: Signals a possible infection.
  • Red and puffy gums: Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Also known as periodontitis and gum disease, periodontal disease is an inflammatory ailment that attacks the gum and bone around the teeth.  Plaque is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria multiply and if gone unattended, transforms into calculus (tartar).

Untreated gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can progress to periodontitis. Gradually, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Bacteria produce toxins that aggravate the gum. The toxins encourage a chronic inflammatory reaction in which  the tissues and bone that support the teeth are eventually broken down and destroyed. Furthermore, gums pull away from the teeth, creating infected pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums). As the disease advances, the pockets grow more hallow, causing more destruction. Even though this destructive process has very mild symptoms, teeth will eventually loosen and may have to be removed.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease

Chronic periodontitis: The deep pockets and gum recession cause irritation within the tissues. And cause progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most regularly occurring form of periodontitis characterized by pocket formation and recession of the gum (gingiva).

Necrotizing periodontitis: Infection categorized by necrosis (tissue death) most often observed in individuals who suffer from systematic conditions such as malnutrition, immunosuppression, and HIV.

Aggressive periodontitis: Infection categorized by generally a healthy person who deals with chronic bone destruction and loss of gum attachment.

Periodontitis caused by systemic disease: This form of infection originates at a young age; Diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease are common factors.

What are the treatments for Periodontal Disease?

Surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available, but the treatment used depends on the condition of the patient’s teeth, jawbone, and gums. A compressive examination of the mouth must be performed prior to any treatment recommendation.

What are some common treatments for periodontal disease?

Scaling and planing: The bacteria and tarter must be scrapped off in order to obtain the health of the gum. The cleaning and treatment of the gum pockets with antibiotics assuage the infected areas.

Tissue regeneration: When destruction of bone and gum tissue occurs, grafting techniques encourage regrowth. The regeneration process can speed up when a membrane is rooted into the affected areas.

Pocket elimination surgery: Also known as flap surgery, this surgical procedure shrinks the pocket size between the gums and teeth.  An alternative choice is the surgery of the of the jawbone, which aims to remove depressions in the bone that colonize bacteria.

Dental implants: Implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone can restore the physical features and functionality of the mouth when there is tooth loss. Tissue renewal procedures may be obligatory before placing any implants in order to strengthen the bone.

Please ask your dentist if you have questions or concerns about periodontal treatment, periodontal disease or dental implants.