What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the soft tissues supporting the teeth and can progress to affect the jawbone. It typically starts with gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque toxins. If left untreated, the infection can spread and become more difficult to remove. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that damages the connective tissue and jawbone, leading to problems like shifting teeth, looseness, and eventually tooth loss. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent further complications.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, which causes chronic inflammation and destruction of bone and soft tissue. Symptoms may be minimal as the teeth separate from the infected gums, and deepening pockets indicate tissue and bone damage.

Common types of periodontal disease include:

  1. Chronic periodontitis: Inflammation leads to deep pockets and gum recession. It may appear as if the teeth are lengthening, but it's actually the gums receding. This is the most common type, with progressive loss of attachment.

  2. Aggressive periodontitis: Rapid loss of gum attachment and chronic bone destruction, often seen in otherwise healthy individuals. It can be genetically influenced.

  3. Necrotizing periodontitis: Primarily affects those with systemic conditions like HIV, immunosuppression, or malnutrition. Tissue death occurs in the ligament, bone, and gums.

  4. Periodontitis:  caused by systemic disease: Begins at an early age and is associated with conditions like respiratory disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent further deterioration of the gums and supporting structures.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can be treated through various surgical and nonsurgical methods, determined by the condition of the teeth, gums, and jawbone. Before any treatment is recommended, a comprehensive examination will be conducted. Common treatments include:

  1. Scaling and root planning, which involves removing bacteria and tartar from gum pockets and applying antibiotics.
  2. Tissue regeneration techniques can encourage the regrowth of damaged bone and gum tissues.
  3. Pocket elimination surgery aims to reduce pocket size and eliminate bacterial colonization.
  4. Dental implants may be used to restore the appearance and functionality of the mouth after tooth loss, with tissue regeneration procedures sometimes required beforehand.

Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.

Contact Us.We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form.

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