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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a term describing infection of the tissues which surround a tooth including the gums or the root of the tooth. There are two types of periodontal disease: ‘gingivitis’ is an infection and inflammation of the gums around the neck of a tooth whereas ‘periodontitis’ is an infection of the ligament and bone surrounding the root of a tooth.

What causes periodontal disease?

Gingivitis occurs when plaque is allowed to build up around a tooth and create a sticky layer which causes a gum infection. If you look in your mouth you will see redness, swelling and bleeding of the gum around your tooth. Periodontal disease occurs in susceptible patients when a long-term gum infection is not treated. Infection and resultant inflammation lead to the loss of ligaments and bone around the root of your tooth. Factors which significantly increase the risk of developing periodontitis include:

  • Bite problems on periodontally affected teeth can lead to accelerated periodontal disease and loosening of the teeth
  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Medications (certain anti-seizure, blood pressure, and immunosuppressant medications)

What can I do to minimize my risk of periodontal disease?

To minimize your risk of future periodontal disease, you must be mindful of the risk factors stated above. Gingivitis is usually well managed by adopting excellent oral hygiene practices including brushing teeth after every meal and flossing at least once a day. Periodontal disease is more difficult to manage. Protocols recommended by your dentist may include:

  • More frequent cleanings (4 per year)
  • Referral for periodontal evaluation by a periodontal dentist
  • Antibacterial mouth rinses
  • Customized home care instruction
  • Smoking cessation counseling
  • LANAP laser gum surgery

What will happen if I choose to do nothing about my Periodontal Disease?

As uncontrolled periodontal disease is progressive in nature, it will lead to increased bone loss and eventual tooth loss; ultimately affecting your ability to eat and speak. There are also connections between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases of the body such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. In pregnant women, periodontal disease may be linked to preterm low birth weight.

The Progressive Implantology & Periodontics Team is trained with the most up to date research and focuses on optimizing your periodontal health. Contact us for more information about prevention and treatment of periodontal disease.