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Periodontal Disease Explained

Periodontal disease is a silent bacterial infection that destroys the gums and bone that support your teeth, Gum disease affects over 80% of people in the United States. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss- it causes more teeth to be lost than dental decay. Most people are not even aware that they have gum disease, because there is usually no pain connected with it, unlike other dental problems. Unfortunately, warning signs of serious gum disease usually only happen during flare-ups (acute infections / periodontal abscess), or in the later stages of the disease as teeth become loose, when it is often difficult or impossible to save your teeth. So how is gum disease diagnosed? Gum disease is diagnosed by dental x-rays and a periodontal examination. The illustration below shows the measuring probe with marks like a ruler gently inserted under the gum line to check for disease. Dr. Eric reads your dental x-rays and gently examines your gums to measure periodontal pockets and look for signs of active gum disease, bone loss, and loosening of teeth. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, may begin with mild gum inflammation, or gingivitis, which may appear as slightly red, or swollen gums, that or bleeding gums, that are sometimes noticed during brushing or flossing. These bleeding or inflamed gums are often caused by the accumulation of disease-causing bacteria that live in the otherwise normal bacterial plaque that accumulates each day and night in our mouths and covers our teeth. Bacteria, if not completely removed by perfect brushing and flossing, tends to solidify and create hardened tartar, also known as calculus which tends to form both above and below the gum line, forming periodontal pockets. This, in turn, may lead to breakdown of the collagen in the gum tissue itself, and the destruction of bone that support the teeth. Loss of bone and gum tissue continues, often completely unnoticed by the patient, until loose teeth or gum abscess indicate that gum disease has progressed to the point of tooth loss, along with possible systemic medical harms that accompany the chronic inflammation aspect of untreated gum disease. Periodontal disease is often silent, and most patients are not aware that they are losing bone and teeth until an observant dentist performs a complete periodontal examination in which periodontal pockets are carefully measured and dental x-rays can be evaluated.


21 october 2020, 18:18

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