Periodontal is a broad term used to describe various diseases that affect the gums, bone and surrounding structures of the teeth. The 2001 Guinness Book of World Records lists Periodontal Disease as the #1 disease affecting mankind. The most common types of adult periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis causes bleeding and reddening of the gums. Periodontitis damages the bone and connective tissue that support the teeth.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue. This happens when bacteria increases in mass to form a paste-like substance called plaque. Accumulation of plaque and tartar covering the teeth are the beginning stages of periodontal diseases. Tartar is long standing plaque that has absorbed calcium on the tooth surface. Early detection and treatment are your best defense.
The existence of bone destruction under the gums cannot be visually detected. This makes it especially important to visit your dentist regularly.
Some early warning signs include:
If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. Research indicates that periodontal diseases may contribute to diabetes, respiratory diseases, heart attack, stroke, or be associated with premature childbirth.
An evaluation is done using a periodontal probe to measure the depth of the space between the teeth and gums and x-rays are taken to see whether the bone is damaged. Depending on the disease progression, the following treatments are used:
Early detection is important in the treatment of periodontal disease. In addition, you keep dental costs down by preventing further destruction. If you have any questions on periodontal disease, its progression and treatment, ask your dental care provider.