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Periodontal Disease

Macedon Family Dentistry: Dentists Dr. Joseph Behrman & Dr. Jeni Behrman

About Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). Plaque and tartar can eventually build up and cause periodontal disease (gum disease), which attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually can damage and destroy the connective tissue around the teeth and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Not only is gum disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. However, signs and symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • New spacing between teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus around the teeth and gums
  • Receding gums
  • Red and puffy gums
  • Tenderness or Discomfort

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line thus becoming periodontitis. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue.

Types of periodontal disease:

  • Chronic periodontitis: Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession. It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in actuality, the gums (gingiva) are eceding. This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.
  • Aggressive periodontitis: This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual. It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis: This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition. Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.
  • Periodontitis caused by systemic disease: This form of gum disease often begins at an early age. Medical conditions such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease are common cofactors.

If you have questions or concerns about periodontal (gum) disease or are looking for a Macedon dentist, Fairport dentist or Palmyra dentist, please give us call.