Periodontal Disease

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. This disease damages the teeth, gums and jawbones of more than 80% of Americans by age 45.  Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. In some patients, a genetic predisposition may cause periodontal disease to occur, even if dental plaque levels are kept to a minimum (excellent brushing and flossing).

Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons, which irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar), which can enable even more plaque to accumulate. This can occur both above and below the gum line.

As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. However, don’t be fooled, with periodontal disease, bleeding, redness and swelling do not have to be present. Furthermore, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease.