What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal treatment is sometimes needed when various conditions affect the health of your gums and your jaw bone, that hold your teeth in place. Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become red and swollen. In advanced stages, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth can shift, become loose or fall out. These changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak, but can spoil your smile.
Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the gums and bone, that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. While there are many diseases which affect the tooth-supporting structures, plaque-induced inflammatory lesions make up the majority of periodontal issues, and are divided into two categories: gingivitis (inflammation of the gums without loss of bone and attachment) and periodontitis (inflammation with loss of bone and attachment).
Dental plaque (bacteria) is the primary cause of gingivitis. Plaque is a sticky colorless film, composed primarily of food particles and various types of bacteria, which adhere to your teeth at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth, even minutes after cleaning. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. Gums may become inflamed, red, swollen, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. If daily brushing and flossing is neglected, plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line.
If gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates. The progressive loss of this bone can lead to loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease is often painless. About 80% of Americans will develop periodontal disease by age 45, It is important to maintain proper home care and regular dental visits to help reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the gums and bone, that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. While there are many diseases which affect the tooth-supporting structures, plaque-induced inflammatory lesions make up the majority of periodontal issues, and are divided into two categories: gingivitis (inflammation of the gums without loss of bone and attachment) and periodontitis (inflammation with loss of bone and attachment)
Maintaining good oral hygiene and reducing the progression of periodontal disease through treatment will have benefits beyond preventing gum disease and bone loss. It can also reduce the chances of developing another serious health condition.
The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal diseases is by daily thorough tooth brushing and flossing and regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people can still develop some form of periodontal disease.
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use some pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort. When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a consultation with a periodontist if they find signs of periodontal disease. Although most of our patients see us on referral from a restorative dentist or hygienist, a referral is not necessary to be seen in our office.
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in hormonal levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chances of periodontal disease may increase.
Arestin sometimes applied right after scaling and root planing, the dental procedure that disrupts stubborn plaque and bacteria below the gum line where brushing and flossing can’t reach.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 7000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided in our office.
To set up an appointment, give us a call at (585) 651-3194.