Your gum tissue and bone should adapt snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. Your gums and bone are ‘attached’ to your teeth, creating a tight seal so that bacteria cannot pass under the gums. The active periodontal disease destroys and ‘detaches’ your gums and bone from your teeth, forming ‘pockets’ which allows bacteria to enter and travel deeper and deeper under the gums, creating a periodontal infection.
The deeper the pockets become, the larger space for bacteria to live. Over time this results in further bone and tissue loss as well as more rapid loss due to the higher number of bacteria. Inevitably, if too much bone is lost, teeth become loose and may need to be extracted. This is an unfortunate progression of periodontal disease that can often be avoided with periodontal therapy.
Periodontal disease has often been implicated with diabetes, heart disease, oral cancer, and other medical problems. Research has shown that periodontal health and therapy can help improve these conditions. Here at PerioLife, we are dedicated to promoting oral health as well as overall well being.
Types of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body, in essence, turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms in even severe cases of the disease. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no cure for periodontal disease but we aim to control it from causing any further damage. It is a chronic condition that is controlled like high blood pressure or diabetes with proper care and treatment.
Periodontal disease is not completely reversible. However, we can regrow some of the lost bone and tissue to enhance the health and longevity of your teeth.
Periodontal disease can often present with no symptoms. Oftentimes when there is pain, there is severe damage. Thus it is so important to have your gums evaluated by a periodontist to monitor for any disease.
Periodontal disease will cause bone loss and eventually tooth loss if left untreated.