About Periodontal Disease

Periodontics Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of periodontics, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to periodontics are discussed.

Periodontics Presentation

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What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. This disease damages the teeth, gums, and jawbone of more than 50% Americans by age 45.

“More adults lose teeth from periodontal disease than tooth decay.”

Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals.

Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. This may cause the gums to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. Pus and other indicators may also be present. However, don’t be fooled – with periodontal disease, bleeding, redness, and swelling do not have to be present. In fact, pain is not usually associated with periodontal disease until the disease is severe or a painful periodontal abscess occurs. If this disease is left untreated, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden (calcify) into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. The initial stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and can usually be totally reversed.

As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place are destroyed. When the bone deteriorates, periodontal disease moves from gingivitis to periodontitis (true bone loss, also called pyorrhea). This disease can irreversibly damage the gums and bone supporting the teeth. As the supporting bone is destroyed, your teeth will loosen, shift, or fall out. These negative changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak, they also spoil your smile.

To assess your risk of gum disease, visit the American Academy of Periodontology.

Periodontics Overview

For a brief narrated overview of the periodontics, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about periodontics.

Periodontics Overview

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What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease and tooth decay are both caused by bacterial plaque.

Plaque is a sticky colorless film, composed primarily of various types of bacteria, which adhere to your teeth and roots at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth; it begins to form within minutes after brushing and flossing. If not carefully removed by daily oral hygiene (brushing and flossing), plaque hardens in less than a day into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can only be removed with a professional cleaning or periodontal treatment.

The bacterial plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may (but not always) cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing periodontal pockets (spaces) to form along the tooth. As periodontal disease progresses, the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth deteriorate. This results in bone loss and other indicators of periodontal disease. Teeth can become mobile and shift into different positions. Gaps can form between your teeth. As teeth move, you can have bite collapse. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

To assess your risk of gum disease, visit the American Academy of Periodontology.

Whoopi Goldberg talks about Gum Disease – It can kill you!