What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone support around our teeth. It gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. It is a risk factor for atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and is associated with several other systemic conditions, including diabetes.
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition, meaning it is rarely painful. Successful management of the disease occurs as a partnership between you and your dental team.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than to cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques performed daily.
Periodontal disease is initiated by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that is constantly forming on your teeth and gums. Our body’s immune system attempts to defend us from this bacteria and creates inflammation in response to it. This inflammation and the bacteria can erode the gum and bone support around our teeth.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
How does periodontal disease affect me?
Bacteria found in plaque produce byproducts and toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place are destroyed by a combination of the bacterial toxins and our immune system attempting to defend us from them. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Chronic inflammation is widely recognized by the medical community as having negative health effects throughout our bodies.
Treating Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease due to genetics, inadequate nutrition, stress, diabetes, and tobacco use. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progression. Our goal is to catch gum disease in its earliest stages and prevent advancement and tooth loss. We do this by completing a thorough assessment of your gums at each cleaning visit. If treatment is recommended, we can do this comfortably using the latest technology available.