What is Gum Disease?
According to the American Dental Association,
at least 60% of adults in the United States have moderate-to-severe
gum disease! No doubt, you've heard some of the terms: Plaque,
Tartar, Calculus, Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Pyorrhea, Periodontal
Disease, Gum Disease. But what does it all mean? Quite
simply, Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) starts when plaque
and tartar (calculus) are allowed to accumulate at the base
of your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection
in the gums (gingiva) called Gingivitis. Left untreated, the
infection spreads to the tissue and bone that holds your teeth
in place, a condition called Periodontitis (Pyorrhea). Because
of the bacterial infection associated with Periodontitis,
tooth abscesses are also common.
This patient has Periodontitis. Notice
the bone deterioration and uneven level of bone.
Healthy gums and bone.
What are the Signs of Gum Disease?
Gum Disease is rarely painful, especially in
the early stages. Although there may be no visible signs,
some of the common indications of Gum Disease are:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss (healthy gums
will not bleed)
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth (receded)
- Pus (infection) between the teeth and gums
- Loose permanent teeth or separating (drifting) teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when chewing
- Persistent bad breath
What are the Dangers of Gum Disease?
Gum Disease is the leading cause of tooth loss
among adults. More importantly, the infection releases toxins
into the bloodstream leading to serious health risks:
Sources: National Institute
of Dental & Craniofacial Research
and American Heart Association
Is There a Cure?
can effectively be used to treat and control even advanced
cases of Periodontitis (Pyorrhea), but the more advanced
the disease, the more likely it will lead to tooth loss.
Prevention and Early Detection are your best defenses
against Gum Disease. It is critical to catch and treat
Gum Disease early before destruction of bone and tissue
has compromised your oral health.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
The best "brushers" in the world
will naturally build up tartar on their teeth. Even
patients with "healthy" gums and teeth should
see their dentist regularly to remove the build-up of
tartar and check for the formation of new cavities.
Patients with Gum Disease, or patients that build up
large amounts of tartar, may need to have their teeth
cleaned frequently to help control the amount of bacteria
in the mouth. At your regular recall appointments (Cleanings),
we always evaluate the condition of your gums.
thorough exam, which includes x-rays, visual inspection,
and an analysis of hard and soft tissue, helps determine
the health of your gums.
If you have any specific questions about
Gum Disease that weren't answered here, or if you would
like an appointment for a Gum Disease screening, please