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What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or gum disease, is a prevalent inflammatory condition that affects the soft tissues supporting and surrounding the teeth, eventually impacting the jawbone itself in advanced stages. It’s derived from the term “periodontal,” which signifies around the tooth.

Typically, periodontal disease stems from gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. The trouble begins when plaque toxins irritate and inflame the gums, leading to a bacterial infection in the gum pockets between the teeth. Once established, this infection becomes stubborn to remove and treat, progressively damaging connective tissue and jawbone.

If left unchecked, periodontal disease can result in teeth shifting, looseness, and eventual loss. It stands as the primary cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world, necessitating prompt treatment.

Types of Periodontal Disease

  • Chronic Periodontitis: Characterized by deep pockets and gum recession, this form involves progressive attachment loss interspersed with rapid progression periods.
  • Aggressive Periodontitis: Occurring in clinically healthy individuals, it entails swift gum attachment loss, chronic bone destruction, and familial aggregation.
  • Necrotizing Periodontitis: Primarily affecting individuals with systemic conditions like HIV or malnutrition, this type involves tissue death in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, and gingival tissues.
  • Periodontitis Caused by Systemic Disease: Often starting early in life, it’s associated with medical conditions such as respiratory disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

The periodontist may opt for various surgical and nonsurgical treatments based on the specific oral condition. Before proceeding, a thorough periodontal exam is conducted. Common treatments include:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: Removing bacteria and calculus to preserve gum health, often supplemented with antibiotics and prescription mouthwashes.
  • Tissue Regeneration: Actively encouraging regrowth in areas where bone and gum tissues have been compromised, often through grafting procedures.
  • Pocket Elimination Surgery: Surgical intervention to reduce pocket size between teeth and gums, sometimes involving jawbone surgery to eliminate bacterial colonies.
  • Dental Implants: Restoration of lost teeth functionality and aesthetics through prosthetic teeth implanted into the jawbone, sometimes preceded by tissue regeneration procedures.

For queries or concerns regarding periodontal disease, treatment, or dental implants, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

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