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
- 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?
Gum Treatment 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
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 Contact
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