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Periodontal Disease

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Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

The word periodontal means "around the tooth." Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space is usually three millimeters or less.

Periodontal diseases are infections that affect the tissues and bone that support teeth. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than three millimeters. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the pocket depth and bone loss. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow and make it difficult to practice effective oral hygiene. Left untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, over 50% of Americans have advanced gum disease.  World Health Organization reports estimate that 80%  of Americans aged 35-44 have gingival bleeding, a leading sign of gum disease.  Other indicators include inflamed gums, receding gums, persistent bad breath, obvious plaque build-up and, in advanced cases, mobile teeth.

Successful treatment of Periodontal disease is readily available. Our office offers a non-invasive treatment, called Perio Protect, shown to kill 99.98% of Bacteria with an FDA-cleared medical device antimicrobials to the source of the gingival infection.

 

How would I know if I had periodontal disease?


It's possible to have periodontal disease without apparent symptoms. That's why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Several warning signs can signal a problem. If you notice any of the following, see your dentist:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial denture

    Are you at risk?

There are several factors that increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
  • Tobacco users are much more likely that nonusers to develop plaque and tartar on their teeth. They also are more likely to have deeper pockets between their teeth and gums and greater loss of bone and tissue that support teeth. Periodontal treatment is less successful in patients who continue to smoke.
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV infections, and AIDS can lower the body's resistance to infection, making periodontal diseases more severe. 
  • Many medications - such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure drugs and oral contraceptives- can affect the gums. SOme medications have side effects that reduce saliva. A lack of saliva can result in a chronically dry mouth, which can irritate the soft tissues. Update your medical history files at the dental office, to include all medications and any changes that occur in your health.
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly, crooked, crowded teeth, or fillings that have become defective may hold plaque in place and increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
  • Puberty, pregnancy, and oral contraceptives change the body's hormone levels. This can cause gum tissue to become more sensitive to toxins and enzymes and can accelerate growth of some bacteria.
  • Genetics may play a role. Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive, severe type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss or who have parents wearing dentures should pay particular attention to their gums.
  • According to some studies periodontal disease may be passed from parents to children and between couples. Research suggests that bacteria causing periodontal diseases are passed through saliva.

Types of Periodontal Diseases


Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care at home.

Chronic Periodontitis is a form of periodontal disease that results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of teeth. Patients experience progressive loss of tissue attachment and bone. Chronic periodontitis is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of gum tissue and is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.

Aggressive Periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue attachment and destruction of bone. This disease may occur in localized or generalized patterns.

Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases this form of periodontitis is associated with one of several systemic diseases, such as diabetes. Patients who have rare but specified blood diseases or genetic disorders frequently show signs of periodontal diseases.

Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases are infections characterized by necrosis (death) of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly associated with pain bleeding, and a foul odor. Contributing factors can include emotional stress, tobacco use and HIV infection.

Checking for Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal Evaluation
During your dental checkup, the dentist examines your gums. This is called a periodontal examination. A periodontal probe is gently used to measure the depth of the sulcus surrounding each tooth. The depth of the healthy sulcus is usually three millimeters or less. The periodontal probe can indicate whether you have developed any pockets and the depth of those pockets. Generally the more severe the disease, the deeper the pocket.

Dental X-Rays
Dental x-rays also may be taken to evaluate the amount of bone supporting the teeth and to detect other problems not visible during the clinical examination. If periodontal disease is diagnosed, the dentist may provide treatment or may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, over 50% of Americans have advanced gum disease.  World Health Organization reports estimate that 80%  of Americans aged 35-44 have gingival bleeding, a leading sign of gum disease.  Other indicators include inflamed gums, receding gums, persistent bad breath, obvious plaque build-up and, in advanced cases, mobile teeth.

Successful treatment of Periodontal disease is readily available. Our office offers a non-invasive treatment, called Perio Protect, shown to kill 99.98% of Bacteria with an FDA-cleared medical device antimicrobials to the source of the gingival infection.

 


 

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