Sunday, May 15, 2011
Periodontal disease is an insidious inflammatory disease caused by a bacterial infection that can destroy the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. When the disease is neglected, teeth can be lost.
Some symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease may not appear until the disease has done some significant damage and early on there is usually no accompanying pain, which is why it is often called the silent oral disease. But when signs do appear, they should serve as a wake-up call to schedule an appointment for a periodontal evaluation with a New Jersey Registered Dental Hygiene Specialist at the Manalapan office of Prosthodontist, Dr. James Courey.
The key warning signs of periodontal disease include:
• Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard food
• Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
• Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
• Loose or migrating teeth
• Pus between your gums and teeth
• Sores in your mouth
• Persistent bad breath
•A change in the fit of partial dentures
There two forms of periodontal disease: The mildest form is gingivitis, or gum inflammation, where the initial sign is gums that bleed during brushing or flossing along with slight redness or swelling. There is usually no tissue or bone damage or even discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis, which is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, can be treated and reversed, often just by brushing and flossing more diligently.
Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, with serious consequences, including tooth loss. As the American Academy of Periodontology describes 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 can 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. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed."