Periodontal Disease

Any word with “disease” after it can’t be good.

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth. It is most often caused by bacteria from plaque. Periodontal literally means, “around the tooth.”

Image of PeriodontitisGingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It is characterized by red, swollen, bleeding gums and is caused by inadequate oral hygiene.

Gingivitis can usually be treated here in our office and through dedicated home care.

Periodontitis is more serious, and typically results from untreated Gingivitis. If plaque is not regularly removed from your teeth, it can spread below the gumline.

Once this happens, bacteria from the plaque will infect the gums—this causes the tissue to recede and separate from the teeth.

As Periodontitis progresses, the bacteria begins to destroy the tissue and bone, eventually causing tooth loss.

 

Risk factors:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Ill-fitting bridges, crowded teeth or defective fillings
  • Medications (steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds)
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives and puberty (changes in hormone levels can cause gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins)
  • Systemic diseases (diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.)
  • Genetics (patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums)

Signs and symptoms:

  • Red and puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • New spacing between teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tenderness or discomfort

If you think you may have some form of periodontal disease, the sooner you let us know the better our chance of treating it successfully. There are both non-surgical and surgical options available, depending on your unique condition.

We will work together to determine a treatment plan that’s best for you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us during your next visit. If you or a loved one show signs of periodontal disease or think you may be at risk, schedule an appointment today.