Periodontics (Gum Disease)

Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal (gum) disease Is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, affecting three out of four people over the age of 35. In fact, more than half of all adults over age 18 already have periodontal disease in its early stages. This inflammatory disease attacks the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of the teeth.

Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease, occurring when plaque accumulates on the teeth near the gums. The gums become inflamed, causing redness and swelling around one or more teeth. As the disease progresses, the gums tend to bleed easily. If detected and treated at this stage, the gingival tissues will return to normal.

If left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis, also known as pyorrhea. As the plaque hardens Into calculus (tartar), it extends from the gum line down along the tooth root. Gradually, the gums detach from the tooth and form pockets. These periodontal pockets create room for even more bacterial activity and the cycle continues. As the disease progresses, the bone
supporting the tooth is destroyed, resulting in tooth loss.




Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease Because you cannot see the bone destruction going on beneath the gum tissue, you may not realize you have this disease until irreversible damage has already been done. toothdiagramYour dentist can examine your gums to see if you hove any periodontal problems. He may use a periodontal probe to look for pockets between your gums and teeth. This device will also measure the depth of the pockets, X-rays can determine whether any bone destruction has occurred.

At home, you can be on the alert for the warning signs of periodontal disease. If you have any of the following Symptoms, see your dentist at once:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • Gums that pull away from the teeth.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (noticeable when the gums ore pressed).
  • Loose permanent teeth.
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
  • A change in the fit of your partial dentures.
  • Bad breath.

What Causes It?
Plaque, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria which continually forms on teeth, causes periodontal disease. There are at least 30 types of bacteria capable of producing periodontal diseases. The bacteria creates toxins (poisons) that irritate the gums and loosen the attachment of gum tissues to the teeth.

Local Irritants, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, or habitually clenching the teeth, can also contribute to periodontal disease. Additional factors Include nutrition, certain medications, and high levels of stress.