About Periodontal Disease
About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually lead to the destruction of the support of your natural teeth. These diseases effect more than 80% of Americans by the age of 45.

Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria found in plaque produce enzymes and toxins which injure the gums. Injured gums turn red, swell and bleed easily.

If this injury 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 (tartar).

This can occur both above and below the gum line. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate.

If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Pain is usually not present until damage from this disease is very advanced.

Periodontal Health Effects

Research has shown that gum disease can influence heart disease and other health conditions in negative ways. They suggest that gum disease could even be a more serious factor in heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, hypertension or age. One reason for this is the fact that the bacteria found in diseased gums can come loose and move throughout the body. When this bacteria reaches arteries, it can cause arterial plaque to build up and harden which in return adversely affects blood flow.

Sensitivity

Teeth that are suffering damage from gum disease will always be more sensitive to cold; and if you avoid cleaning them due to this sensitivity, it can only make the problem worse.

After dental treatment, some teeth may be more sensitive because this is their way of dealing with injury. Injuries to teeth such as cavities, gum infection and jaw clenching can damage the nerves in a tooth. The sensitivity should not last long after treatment as long as your teeth are kept clean; otherwise, the sensitivity is likely to get worse. If your teeth are ever extra sensitive, please consult with Dr. Willson as this could be a sign that you need a root canal or gum tissue treatment.

Gingivitis

One of the earliest stages of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the gums to become swollen and bleed due to the toxins, enzymes and plaque byproducts that are created. In order for your gums to return to a healthy state, treatment from Dr. Willson is required in addition to proper oral hygiene.

Periodontitis

When the bone tissue starts to deteriorate, this is known as a form of gum disease called Periodontitis. This happens when the byproducts of plaque attack the tissues that hold your teeth to the bone. The gums begin falling away from the teeth and form pockets in the gums which allows more plaque to collect below the gum line. When this occurs, the patient becomes more sensitive to hot and cold and the roots of the teeth are more vulnerable to decay.

Advanced Periodontitis

With severe periodontitis, a radical amount of gum tissue and bone tissue is lost. Usually, teeth lose more support as the disease continues to destroy the periodontal ligament and bone. Teeth become loose and may even need to be extracted. This causes difficulties in normal everyday chewing and biting habits. If advanced periodontal disease is left untreated, patients run the risk of other serious health problems.

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