Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.
Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There
is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and
gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus,
where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues
to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a
pocket: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth
of the pocket.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease.
The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a
milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the
gums. Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal
disease called periodontitis.
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That
is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations
are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease
and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is
essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious
or recurring. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease.
Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular
dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease: tobacco
smoking or chewing, systemic diseases such as diabetes, bridges that no
longer fit properly, crooked teeth, etc.
Several warning signs that can signal a problem: gums that bleed easily,
red, swollen, tender gums, gums that have pulled away from the teeth,
persistent bad breath or bad taste, permanent teeth that are loose or
separating, any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite,
any change in the fit of partial dentures.