Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. This includes gums, bone and the periodontal fibers that support your teeth and hold them in the jaw.

These bacterial infections can destroy your gums as well as the supporting bone that holds your teeth in your mouth which results in loosening of teeth which may fall out, or need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.

Additionally, you may require periodontal surgery to cover and protect exposed tooth root surfaces, correct gum and jawbone indentations or reshape and repair the gum tissue. You may also require dental implants to replace destroyed tooth roots.

Additionally, periodontal disease has been linked to a number of health problems that extend far beyond your mouth including diabetes and heart disease.

Periodontal Disease

The Good News

Periodontal disease is entirely preventable and repairable through good dental habits. You may have gum disease and not even know it. Often, there is no pain and periodontal diseases may not exhibit symptoms until serious bone loss has taken place. It is critical to see Dr. Viral if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that pull away from teeth
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between gums and teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Change in your bite and/or in the fit of removable dentures

What to Do

  • Educate Yourself – We have provided additional information on this serious disease below. Please make yourself aware the potential issues relating to gum disease and follow the best recommendations for avoiding this serious health problem.
  • Make an Appointment – If you have concerns, are experiencing any of the symptoms described here, or if you haven’t had a dentist visit within the last six to eight months, please contact our clinic today and we will make certain you are on the path to dental health.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

The primary cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, which is sticky, colorless coating that forms on your teeth. If it is not cleaned properly – through good habits including regular dental cleanings – that bacterial plaque can infect the gums, release toxins that redden and inflame the tissue, and gradually destroy the tissues supporting the teeth and underlying bone. When this happens, the gums separate from the teeth that fill with even more plaque and cause additional infection.

    Other factors that can affect the health of your gums:
  • Dental Issues : Decayed teeth, broken or badly fitting partial dentures, crowded/crooked teeth and improperly filled teeth can “trap” plaque, making it difficult to remove by at home brushing and flossing.
  • Health Problems : People with diseases such as diabetes and leukemia, on certain medications or with systemic conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, malnutrition or immunosuppression, may be especially vulnerable to gum disease due to lower resistance levels.
  • Lifestyle Issues : Poor personal oral health practices such as smoking, drug and/or alcohol abuse, can contribute to periodontal disease. Additionally, stress and poor nutritional habits can weaken your body’s ability to fight against the infections that cause periodontal disease.
  • Hormonal Factors : Hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s key life stages – puberty, pregnancy and menopause – can trigger tissue changes in the mouth, thus increasing the possibility that a woman will develop periodontal disease.
  • Genetics : Genes and family history can indicate a development of periodontal diseases.
  • Tobacco Use : Tobacco use is a major contributor to periodontal disease. Continued tobacco use after periodontal treatment can slow down the healing process and diminish the likelihood of success. Smokeless tobacco is also a danger – users of this form of tobacco are at higher risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Medications : Certain medicines such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants and some heart medicines can adversely affect your gum health.

Types of Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal diseases and conditions include:

Gingivitis

An inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. At this stage, there is typically no discomfort. If not properly treated, it may lead to periodontitis.

Chronic Periodontitis

The most common form of periodontitis is chronic periodontitis, which results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. It is diagnosed by bone loss (through dental X-rays), pocket formation and/or gum recession. It typically affects adults who are 35 or older, but it can occur at any age.

Aggressive Periodontitis

Aggressive periodontitis is characterized by rapid bone destruction. Localized aggressive periodontitis most often occurs near puberty and usually involves around first molars and/or front teeth. Generalized aggressive periodontitis usually affects people under 30 years old and involves three or more permanent teeth as well as first molars and incisors.

Systemic Periodontitis

Periodontitis occurring due to systemic diseases often begins at a young age. It is associated with systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory problems and diabetes.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by the death of cells in the gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone (part of the upper or lower jaw that contains roots of teeth). It occurs most commonly in patients with systemic conditions such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression. These types of periodontal diseases cause ulcers in the gums between the teeth. Stress, smoking and poor oral hygiene sometimes can contribute to this problem.