What is Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)?
Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is a bacterial, chronic inflammatory disease of the gums that can destroy bone and connective tissue. It affects about one-half of Americans over 30. Gum disease is a condition with swollen and bleeding gums that occurs when gums are infected by bacteria. This infection can spread beyond the gums to all of the surrounding structures, potentially causing further tooth loss and other more serious health issues. Dental plaque and the more than 500 species of bacteria that live below the gum line can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to the two types of periodontal disease:
The mildest form of periodontal disease, gingivitis can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene. It is characterized by red, swollen gums.
More advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, occurs if gingivitis is not managed, oral hygiene is poor and/or you have a genetic predisposition. Periodontitis can cause gums to separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected with bacteria. If left untreated, periodontitis can damage the attachments of the teeth to the bone and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
While bacteria in plaque ultimately stimulate the inflammatory response leading to gum disease, there are many factors that can affect your risk for developing gum disease. These factors include:
- Obesity and Poor Nutrition
- Teeth grinding
- Diseases (Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimers, Colon Cancer, Prostate Cancer)
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Hiebert Smith Dental Group offers gum disease treatment so that you don’t have to deal with these symptoms or worry about any future problems. Our non-surgical treatments include the following…
- Scaling and root planing – cleaning the surface of the roots of teeth to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from periodontal pockets. Additionally, a systemic antibiotic may be prescribed to assist in treatment.
- Antimicrobial medications – for some cases, local antibiotics can be applied beneath the gums to suppress or kill the bacteria adjacent to the roots.