Periodontal Disease (Periodontitis)
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth and is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, individuals often do not realize they have gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria, which form a sticky film on the tooth surface. These plaque bacteria release toxins that can damage the gums. As the amount of plaque increases, saliva can begin to mineralize the plaque to form tartar. These hard deposits on the roots of the teeth only serve to promote more plaque formation and further damage to the gums.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth and is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Periodontitis vs. Gingivitis
There are two main types of gum disease – gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is very common and may affect up to 70% of the population. Gingitvitis is reversible. Periodontitis affects around 30% of adults over age of 30. Periodontitis is not reversible but rather is a condition that must be managed. Both these infections can be treated and controlled, but the earlier they are diagnosed and managed, generally the better the prognosis for your teeth.
Diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis in its early stages is important for successful treatment. If you have not had a periodontal screening examination with your dentist in the last 12 months, make it a priority. Remember, most patients who present with periodontitis are completely unaware of a gum problem being present in their mouth because it rarely causes pain until it becomes very severe, by which time it may be too late to save your teeth.
Stages of Periodontitis
Normal healthy gums
Healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place.
Unremoved plaque hardens into tartar. As plaque continues to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth, and pockets form between the teeth and gums.
The gums recede further, destroying more bone and the periodontal ligament. Even healthy teeth may become loose and need to be extracted.
Periodontal disease is typically painless and often the signs are subtle.
Signs of Periodontitis
Periodontal disease is typically painless and often the signs are subtle. Symptoms may include:
• Gums that bleed easily with brushing or flossing
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Pus between gums and teeth
• Gums that pull away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath
• Loose or separating teeth
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Gums and Overall Health
An increasing amount of research links chronic periodontal disease to conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease. Healthy gums help ensure good overall health. Contact us for more information about periodontal treatment.