Dangers of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious infection, such as gingivitis and periodontitis that can lead to the loss of one or more teeth.  This is a chronic bacterial infection affecting the bone supporting the teeth, as well as the gums.  Bacteria in plaque causes inflammation of the gums.

At onset, or in a mild case of the disease, such as Gingivitis, gums swell, redden and easily bleed.  Generally there is no pain, or very little pain.  The primary cause of Gingivitis is inadequate oral hygiene.  In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, but can be reversed with good oral hygiene practices and the help of a professional.

Gingivitis can advance to periodontitis where plaque spreads and grows beneath the gum line.  The bacteria causes toxins to be produced and this causes gum irritation.  The toxins trigger a chronic inflammatory response, where the tissues and bone that support the teeth break down and decay. Pockets form around the teeth as gums separate from the teeth, then infection sets in.  This process is multiplied and eventually teeth become loose or are lost.

Risk Factors 
  • -Smoking/Tobacco Use
  • -Genetics
  • -Pregnancy and Puberty
  • -Stress
  • -Medications
  • -Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
  • -Poor Nutrition
  • -Diabetes
  • -Other Systemic Diseases

The most common conditions treated by the periodontist are:

Gingivitis – This is the mild inflammation of the gums which may or may not be signified by pain and bleeding.

Mild/moderate periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues are measured to be between 4-6mm it is classified as moderate periodontitis (gum disease).

Advanced periodontitis – When the pockets between the teeth and the soft tissues in general exceed 6mm in depth, significant bone loss may occur; causing shifting or loss of teeth.

Missing teeth – When teeth are missing as a result of bone loss, the periodontist can implant prosthetic teeth.  These teeth are anchored to the jawbone and restore functionality to the mouth.

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