About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone which support your teeth; it is known as the “silent infection”. If not treated, this ongoing infection can cause you to lose your teeth. Periodontal infection is responsible for 75% of adult tooth loss and affects about three out of four people. This disease is often chronic (persists over time). The good news is that treatment can limit damage and help keep your teeth healthier.
Healthy Gums and Teeth: Teeth are supported by the jawbone. Soft tissues (gums) cover the bone and part of each tooth, and fill spaces between teeth. Ligaments (connective fibers) attach teeth to bone. All of these tissues keep teeth in place to do their job, enabling you to chew and speak.
Plaque and Tartar: Dental plaque forms constantly collecting in the grooves of the teeth, between teeth, at the gum line, and below it. If not removed with brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tarter can be removed only with a professional cleaning.
Gingivitis: Early periodontal disease is subtle, and is called Gingivitis. This is the mildest form of periodontal disease. The gum becomes inflamed. The space between gum and tooth deepens, forming a pocket. Gums may become red and swollen, or may bleed when probed. Or, there may be no symptoms. Gingivitis can often be reversed with dental cleaning and regular brushing and flossing. Left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis: With periodontitis, infection an dinflammation spread to the bone supporting the teeth. Ligaments break down and gums may recede (shrink back). Pockets deepen and can be difficult to keep clean. Redness, swelling, and bleeding may develop or worsen. Bacteria multiply, and infection begins to destroy the bone. As bone is destroyed, teeth may start to feel loose.
Advanced Periodontitis: As periodontitis advances, pockets deepen even more and can fill with pus. Around the roots of the teeth, the gums may start to swell. Bone loss continues. The teeth may feel sensitive to heat or cold, and may hurt when brushed. Teeth loosen due to loss of bone and ligament. In some cases, teeth may need to be removed to keep periodontal disease from spreading.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease: Usually Periodontal Infection is painless until it reaches more advanced stages. However, there are some symptoms which can indicate the presence of Periodontal Infection.
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing or at other times
- Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
- Receding gums (teeth begin looking longer, and you begin seeing roots of teeth
- Bad breath
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Loose, separation of protruding teeth
- Spaces between teeth
- NOTE: Your gums can look quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can be present. To be certain about periodontal disease, ask about signs of infection
What puts you at Risk?:
- Poor Oral Hygiene (brushing and flossing)
- Having diabetes, especially if it is poorly controlled
- Stress, teeth-grinding, or bite problems
- Hormone changes, such as those during pregnancy
- Having a weakened immune system
- Having a close family member with periodontal disease
- Taking certain medications