Patient Education

Periodontal Disease

What are Periodontal Diseases? The word ‘periodontal’ literally means ‘around the tooth.’

Periodontal diseases are bacterial gum infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bonde that hold your teeth in your mouth. The main cause of these diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Daily home oral care including proper brushing and flossing, is a must to prevent plaque build-up.

If plaque is not removed, it can turn into a hard substance called calculus in less than two days. Calculus is so hard it can only be removed during a professional cleaning. If calculus develops below the gums onto the tooth root, it makes plaque removal more difficult, leaving you at increased risk for periodontal diseases.

Toxins (or Poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, causing infection. These toxins also can destroy the supporting tissues around the teeth, including the bone. When this happens, gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with even more plaque and more infection. As the diseases progress, these pockets deepen, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed and the teeth eventually become loose. If periodontal diseases are not treated, the teeth may need to be removed.

Periodontal diseases can affect one tooth or many teeth. For example, your front teeth may not show signs of periodontal diseases while a tooth in the back of your mouth may become loose due to severe disease progression.

There are many forms of periodontal diseases. The most common ones include:

Gingivitis, Mild Periodontitis and Moderate-Advanced Periodontitis.

Other factors that might contribute to periodontal diseases:

·         smoking/tobacco use

·         pregnancy and puberty

·         stress

·         medications

·         clenching or grinding your teeth

·         diabetes

·         poor nutrition

·         systemic diseases.

Some of the most common symptoms of periodontal diseases include:

·         bleeding gums during brushing

·         red, swollen or tender gums

·         gums that have pulled away from the teeth

·         persistent bad breath

·         pus between the teeth and gums (leaving a bad taste)

·         loose or separating teeth

·         a change in the way your teeth fit together when  you bite

·         a change in the fit of partial dentures

(Information obtained from the American Academy of Priodontology www.perio.org)

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