Surgery Center

  What is periodontal disease?
  Stages of periodontal disease
  Why is periodontal disease
so prevalent?

  Contributing factors of
periodontal disease

  Periodontal disease &
systematic health

  Treating periodontal disease

Periodontal Disease
Overview of Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) diseases are one of the most common infections in American adults. More than 75% of adults over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that destroys the suopporting fibers of gum and the bone around the teeth. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms around your teeth. Daily oral home care, including brushing and flossing is needed to remove the plaque.

If the plaque is not removed, it turns into a hard substance referred to as tartar, or calculus in as little as two days. Calculus is so hard, it cannot be brushed, or flossed off completely. Once calculus forms, the bacteria can migrate below the gums. Once under the gums, the bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gums, causeing infection. These toxins detroy the supporting tissues around the teeth, including the bone.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

Stage 1: Healthy Gums
Healthy Gums
Healthy Gums
Healthy gums are firm and pink.

Stage 2: Gingivitis
Healthy Gums
This is the earlist stage of gum disease.
The gums are red, swollen and bleed easily.

Stage 3: Periodontitis
Healthy Gums
Mild Periodontitis:
The gums begin to separate from the teeth,
forming pockets which fill with plaque.
Moderate Periodontitis:
Deeper pockets form as more bone and tissue are lost.

Stage 4: Severe Periodontitis
Healthy Gums
   Severe Periodontitis
Teeth may become loose because a large
amount of bone and tissue have been lost.

Why is periodontal disease so prevelant?
One of the major reasons periodontal disease is so prevalent is that it is uaually asymptomatic until advanced prgression. Periodontal diseases are painless until their advanced stages. Unfortunately, the "warning signs" of periodontal disease, such as bad breath, red, swollen and bleeding gums, and loose teeth are usually moderate to advanced disease. Left untreated, periodontal disease will eventually lead to tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Despite the amount of people with periodontal disease, most believe they don't have it. In a recent survey, eight out of ten Americans did not feel that they had gum problems, but seven out of ten did, in fact, have periodontal disease.

No one likes going to the doctor if they don't have to, and we have all been conditioned to the concept of "if it doesn't hurt, it can't be that bad", but the take home message with periodontal disease is: Don't wait until it hurts! See your dentist and if your are told you have gum problems, do something about it before it gets out of hand. The earlier the treatment occurs, the easier it is.

Contributing factors of periodontal disease
Although bacterial plaque is the primary cause of gum problems, other factors can affect your periodontal health. These include:
  • smoking

  • stress

  • pregnancy

  • medications - certain heart medications, antidepressants, and contraceptives can affect oral health

Periodontal disease and systematic health
Many studies have shown that bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease can play a role in systematic problems.

Heart disease: It has been shown that periodontal bacteria may affect your heart. Periodontal bacteria enter the blood stream through the inflamed gums and cause small clots that contribute to clogged arteries.

Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes who have periodontal disease are more suseptible to developing gum abcesses. This has been known for a long time. HOwever, it has recently been shown that periodontal disease may make it more difficult to control diabetes. Periodontal infection can impair the diabetic's ability to process and/or utilize insulin. This may cause the diabetes to be more difficult to control and make the infection more severe than a non-diabetic.

Bacterial Pneumonia: Periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream via the inflamed gums. This is of particular concern to people who are suseptible to bacterial pneumonia, such as those prone to respiratory infections, those with compromised immune systems, or the elderly.

Pregnancy; Recent studies have indicated that pregnant women with gum disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery, which in turn increases the risk of having a baby with a low birth-weight.

Treating periodontal disease
It you are referred to our office, your dentist has determined that your periodontal situation is best treated by a gum specialist, a periodontist. A periodontist has completed a three year residency after dental school, specializing in the treatment of periodontal disease and dental implant surgery.

Periodontal disease is first diagnosed by a thorough clinical and x-ray examination. Once your periodontal status has been evalusated, Dr. Aufderheide will work with you to determine the best treatment options that are recommended to arrest the disease and bring you back to good health.

The Chesapeake Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry will address
your periodontal concerns and work with you and your dentist to ensure
optimal oral health for a lifetime!

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