Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum (periodontal) disease than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
When left untreated, periodontal (gum) disease can inevitably lead to tooth loss. The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Therefore, periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
The infection starts when the gums become inflamed due to bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. While this is often the main cause of periodontal disease, other factors can also be attributed to affecting the health of the gums and bone, including smoking or tobacco use, stress, genetics, pregnancy, medications, diabetes and/or poor nutrition.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Good oral hygiene and regular visits with your dentist and periodontist can prevent periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing can keep plaque to a minimum and in conjunction with professional cleanings 2-4 times a year, can keep your teeth healthy for life.
Gingivitis is perhaps the mildest form of gum disease. While the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily, there is very little to no discomfort associated at this stage of the disease. Through a good oral hygiene regimen and treatment from your dentist, the results of gingivitis can be reversed.
Periodontitis is another form of periodontal disease and can be aggressive or chronic. Aggressive periodontitis displays rapid bone destruction and attachment loss in clinically healthy patients. Chronic periodontitis is one of the most common forms of periodontal disease and is frequently seen in adults. The stages progress slowly and can be recognized by pocket formation and possible gum recession.
In certain cases, periodontal surgery may be recommended to treat periodontal disease when non-surgical treatment is ineffective. We may advise procedures such as pocket reduction, soft tissue grafts or bone regeneration to treat periodontal disease. If a tooth has been lost due to periodontal disease, dental implants are always an option for permanent tooth replacement.