Periodontal disease is known by its less intimidating name, gum disease. Periodontal disease often begins as gingivitis, which only affects the gums. But if gingivitis is left untreated, It could progress to the more destructive form, periodontal disease, which affects other areas around the teeth, such as the bone and ligaments. The word periodontal literally means "around the teeth".
Gingivitis is most commonly caused by plaque and bacteria build-up. In the early stages, it can be treated with good oral hygiene which eliminates dental plaque. In the later stages, when gingivitis has morphed into periodontal disease, it may require more serious treatment, such as a bone and soft tissue surgery. In late stage periodontal disease tooth loss may be the only solution at arresting disease progression.
"Periodontal disease is treatable and common. A good periodontist will put your mind at ease at the time of diagnosis, outlining a treatment plan with which you both feel comfortable."
DR. KAMRAN HAGHIGHAT, B.D.S., M.S., P.C.
Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
Diplomate, American Board of Oral Implantology
Regenerative procedures can reverse some of the damage by regenerating lost bone and tissue. Portland Perio Implant Center employs the latest scientifically supported and advanced techniques in reversing damage and salvaging teeth.
5 Things You Don't Want To Hear About Periodontal Disease
1. You might already have periodontal disease.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly half of all adults age 30 and above have some form of periodontal disease. Seventy percent of adults age 65 and older have it. Depending on your age, this means there’s a 50% chance you already have gingivitis or periodontal disease. Watch out for symptoms such as red or bleeding gums, bad breath, loose or sensitive teeth, and a change in your bite.
2. Yes, you really do need to floss.
Because most common form of periodontal disease is caused by bacteria build-up, the best way to prevent it is to do every adult’s least favorite hygiene chore: brush and floss. When plaque and bacterial accumulation increases due to to ineffective cleaning and removal, it can eventually harden and become what is called tartar, or calculus. Tartar build-up makes it difficult to clean your teeth, so cleaning your teeth regularly and frequently is crucial.
3. It could be more than periodontal disease.
Recent studies have found direct links between periodontal disease and other diseases and infections such as diabetes, cancer and HIV. For example, if you have diabetes, your higher glucose levels can make bacteria grow in your mouth more easily, making it harder to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you develop periodontal disease due to diabetes, your diabetes is then more difficult to control because your body is trying to fight the bacterial infection in your mouth, which affects your blood sugar levels. It can become a vicious cycle.
If you have any of these preexisting diseases or infections, make sure your dentist is aware so he or she can be on high alert.
4. Periodontal disease is hereditary.
Although you can lower your chances of getting periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene, one thing you can’t control is your genes. Periodontal disease can be hereditary, so for those of you who have it in your family history, you will have to be hyper-vigilant about trips to your dentist, brushing and the dreaded flossing.
5. You might need oral surgery.
Something You Do Want To Hear About Periodontal Disease
Now that you’ve heard what you don’t want to hear about periodontal disease, here’s something you do want to hear: Periodontal disease is treatable and common. A good periodontist will put your mind at ease at the time of diagnosis, outlining a treatment plan with which you both feel comfortable. If you end up with periodontal disease, it’s not the end of the world or the end of your oral health. It just means you may need to take some time to care for your mouth and get it healthy again.
Now, go floss.
To learn more about periodontal and gum disease, visit our page The Complete Guide to Periodontal Disease.