Periodontal Disease (gum disease)
Periodontal disease is a chronic low grade infection of the gum tissue. This disease process gradually destroys the support (gum tissue and bone) of your natural teeth. Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum (periodontal) disease than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. It is very unfortunate that gum disease is not painful because if you don’t do to a qualified dentist that checks the gum tissue you will not know you have gum disease. At each regular checkups Dr. Nugent or your hygienists will measure the pocket (called a sulcus) between your teeth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease. Normal pockets range from 1 to 3 mm. When you brush your teeth the tooth brush bristles can get underneath the gum tissue and clean out food and bacteria. When the pockets get above 4 mm bacteria and food particles linger and fester starting the process of gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
Periodontal disease attacks just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to breakdown. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a larger pocket. This larger pocket allows for more bacteria and they cycle of destruction increase.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease.
The two major stages are Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. The gum tissue is red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible with professional treatment and good oral care at home. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called Periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place. If the gums and bone are infected they can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- System-wide diseases such as diabetes
- Fillings that have become defective
- Poor nutrition
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see the doctor immediately:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Gums that bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examination. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
If you need a good dental home or want to have your gum tissue checked then call our office at 713-941-8261 or visit us at 3421 Burke RD Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504.