About Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is an inflammatory disease that affects the gums and involves loss of the bone around the teeth. If it’s not treated, teeth can loosen and eventually teeth are lost.

According to the Journal of Dental Research, 47% of adults over 30 have some form of periodontitis. It is one of the primary causes behind tooth loss in America.

What do you need to know about periodontitis?

This disease is likely to cause a considerable amount of harm to an individual’s health and can often go unnoticed for years. Here are some facts you need to know about periodontitis:

  • Periodontitis is relatively painless, which is why most people don’t realize they have it until they start seeing serious symptoms of the disease. Research suggests that 4 out of 5 don’t realize they’re affected by gum disease.
  • People with periodontal disease are more likely to develop serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Dentists and professionals have observed that smokers are more vulnerable to periodontitis than non-smokers. If you are in the habit of smoking, it’s a good idea to ask Dr. Clagett in Elizabethtown, KY, to perform a thorough examination.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal Disease is an infection of the gums. Active and ongoing infections in the gums can cause the gums to appear discolored, red, swollen, and can even cause them to recede. The infections can lead to two gum diseases: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis is the milder form of inflammation and it doesn’t always lead to periodontitis, especially if it’s treated immediately.
  • Periodontitis is always proceeded by gingivitis and has more serious consequences to your health.

Either of the infections can eventually destroy what is supporting your teeth. If untreated, this will eventually cause your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. This disease can sink deep into the jaw structure and cause a substantial amount of damage to the gum tissue, and other supporting structures, such as the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, gingiva, or cementum.

Cause of Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis is often caused by dental plaque and lack of proper hygiene; however, this is not always the case. People with a genetic predisposition to gingivitis are more vulnerable and need to pay careful attention to their oral health. Here’s some more information about each of the diseases:

  • Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth constantly. It contains a residue of food particles and bacteria. The plaque sticks to the teeth, especially to the section underneath the gum line. If it’s not cleaned, it can settle in the area and cause damage to your teeth and gums.
  • Excessive plaque can lead to problems like red, inflamed, swollen, and bleeding gums. If the inflammation is serious enough, the gums can become separated from teeth, which creates pockets between the teeth and the gums, exposing the underlying teeth and bone.
  • Plaque will eventually harden if it’s not cleaned and become calculus, which can accelerate the deterioration.

Eventually, the gum tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place can deteriorate enough to weaken the tooth’s anchor and root. This can lead to permanent loss of teeth.

If you want to know more about periodontal disease or believe you may have it, contact us at Clagett Periodontics in Elizabethtown, KY and book an appointment today.