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What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Christopher and Anne Thompson, DDS:  What is Gum Disease?

In short, periodontal refers to structures and tissue around tooth. Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, occurs when inflammation affects the soft tissues of the tooth, which negatively impacts the jawbone if left untreated.  

Gingivitis, a condition that tends to precede advanced stages of gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. Periodontal disease is progressive and, if left untreated, it can cause teeth to shift and tooth loss. 

Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss for adults in the U.S.  

Periodontal Disease Health Risks

Researchers are beginning to highlight additional health risks associated with untreated gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, inflammation as a result of gum disease may increase a person's risk of diabetes complications, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and cancer. 

Types of Periodontal Disease

Common types of periodontal disease include:

  • Chronic periodontitis: This condition causes gums to recede and is the most common form of gum disease.st common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.

  • Aggressive periodontitis: In cases of aggressive periodontitis, which is more rare than chronic periodontitis, the gums detach from tooth structures and bone begins to deteriorate. This form of gum disease is typically seen in otherwise healthy people. 

  • Necrotizing periodontitis: This type of gum disease causes gum tissue, periodontal ligament, and bone to die. Additionally, necrotizing periodontitis is typically seen in individuals who experience systemic conditions such as HIV or other immune disorders. 

  • Periodontitis caused by systemic disease: This type of gum disease typically shows up when a person is young. It also commonly associated with respiratory illness, diabetes, and forms of heart disease.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

According to the Academy of Periodontology, Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:

  • Scaling and root planing: This procedure is done to preserve healthy gum tissue. To do so, bacteria in the gum pockets that causes periodontal disease is removed. After the treatment, we may prescribe antibiotics or a prescription mouthwash. 

  • Tissue regeneration: This procedure is performed with grafting techniques to encourage healthy bone and gum regeneration.

  • Pocket elimination surgery: – Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums.  Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.

  • Dental implants: This is one of our favorite dental procedures and is typically performed when a person has lost a tooth due to periodontal disease. It involves a careful mix of technical and artistic skills and will allow you to leave our Turlock dental practice with a brand new functioning tooth. Dental implants also help preserve healthy jawbone structure and keep healthy teeth from shifting.

If you have questions about periodontal disease, or if you would like to schedule an evaluation, please feel free to contact our office or request an appointment online. 

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