Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, a pocket developst: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in the form of a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on your teeth; however, many other factors can cause periodontal (gum) disease or influence its progression.

Periodontal (gum) diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are:

  • Gingivitis: (Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums)
  • Periodontitis: Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease.

Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco smoking or chewing
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives

Several warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Heavy buildup (tartar) on the teeth

It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Contact us today at (916) 525-3200 if you have any questions and concerns about Periodontal Disease!