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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is also known as “gum disease” or Pyorrhea. It is an ongoing bacterial infection of the gums, which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. If not treated, Pyorrhea can cause you to lose your teeth. Periodontal infection is responsible for 75 percent of tooth loss in adults. More and more research indicates that gum disease may be linked to several other diseases including diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Healthy teeth and gums have become more important than ever.

What is an ongoing bacterial infection?

With an ongoing infection, your immune system never quite wins the battle. If you have periodontal disease, your immune system has lost the battle with periodontal bacteria to a point where you now have deep pockets of infection around your teeth. Stronger fighting methods are needed.

Why should I get my periodontal infection treated right away?

People with periodontal disease can no longer naturally fight periodontal bacteria and every so often the infection really “kicks-in.” When there are signs that this is about to occur, your general dentist may recommend you see a periodontist.

How do I know I have periodontal disease?

Usually periodontal infection is painless until it reaches more advanced stages. However there are several symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection. Among these symptoms are:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding when you brush (pink toothbrush) or at any other time
  • Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
  • Receding gums; your teeth begin to look longer
  • Bad breath
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Loose, separating or protruding teeth
  • Spaces between teeth

If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.

Important Note: Your gums can look quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can be present. To be certain about periodontal disease, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.

What can speed up Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus or tartar.

What other important factors affect the health of my gums?

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Poor or Faulty Crowns and Fillings
  • Clenching and Grinding Teeth

How do I prevent gum disease?

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleaning. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Who is a Periodontist?

Your general dentist is trained in the detection and treatment of the early stages of periodontal infection. A periodontist is a dentist with advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of the gums and bone around your teeth; this includes periodontal infection, gum and bone grafting, implants and many other treatments. Periodontics is one of eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.