Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums which can eventually destroy the support of your teeth. As time progresses, areas of the bone can be impacted. This is called periodontitis. At that stage, the gums can recede from the teeth and form pockets of bacteria and debris. The end result can be the loss of teeth as the bone deteriorates. But there are more types of periodontal disease to review, and we will discuss them in this blog.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Dr. Steven Lieber explains that, “Dental plaque, the colorless film which sticks to your teeth at the gum line, is a primary cause of gum disease. Daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will help to prevent, reverse or control most periodontal conditions.”
Gingivitis is characterized by inflammation of the gums and base of the teeth. Gingivitis affects nearly 50% of the adult population in the U.S.! Common symptoms are puffy, red swollen gums which may bleed when brushing and flossing. These symptoms can make it uncomfortable to care for your teeth, which then causes those affected to perform these routines less thoroughly leading to bigger problems.
As mentioned, periodontitis is characterized by the destruction of the bone and tissues of the teeth. This is when the gums can recede from the teeth and form pockets which collect bacteria and debris and can become infected. The end result can be the loss of teeth as the bone deteriorates. There are several stages of periodontitis.
Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is includes pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is common in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation. The disease itself is basically the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster and harder to control.
Periodontitis can also be a manifestation of systemic diseases such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Even if little plaque is present, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection with tissue death (necrosis) of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression. It can also result from smoking.
Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession, most often caused by periodontal disease. In cases where recession is likely to continue, where there are sensitive roots, or when there are cosmetic concerns, soft tissue (gum) grafting can be done.
Advanced periodontal disease symptoms involve movement or migration of teeth. Loose teeth or receding gums are a clear warning that professional help is required.
Hopefully you do not notice any of the above signs of disease. Perhaps like many people, you are in the very early stages. Learn from your bleeding or swollen gums that you may have a problem brewing and damage might have occurred.
Dr. Jessica Stilley summarizes, “It is possible to reverse gingivitis in the early stages by visiting your dentist or periodontist, and if your gums and teeth are suffering from bleeding, looseness, or pain, it is time to seek further professional treatment.”