About Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal treatment is necessary when various conditions affect the health of your gums and the regions of your jawbone that hold your teeth in place. Retaining your teeth is directly dependent on proper periodontal care and maintenance. Healthy gums are critical to your general health and enhance the appearance of your teeth, serving as a framework for your smile. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red. Periodontal disease results in the destruction of supporting bone that may lead to shifting or loss of your teeth. These changes affect your ability to chew, speak, smile and properly digest food critical to your general health.  Left untreated periodontal disease may also increase the risk of systemic illnesses including cardiovascular disease among others.

Periodontal diseases are inflammatory disorders resulting in ongoing infections of the gums and bone that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is a bacterial biofilm that is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Periodontal bacteria found in plaque elicit an overactive immune response in susceptible individuals resulting in the production of excess chemicals and enzymes that irritate and destroy the gums and bone. This may cause your tissues to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums and bone separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to deepen. Over time plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line and due to its consistency and location requires professional assistance for removal. Self diagnosis is impossible as most periodontal diseases are not painful and some may not present with bleeding, redness or swelling. These diseases damage the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80 percent of Americans by age 45 and may have negative effects on your general health.