What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually leads to the destruction of the bone supporting your natural teeth. This disease affects more than 80% of Americans by the age of 45.
Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Specific bacteria (germs) found in plaque produce enzymes and toxins which injure the gums. Injured gums turn red, swell and bleed easily.
If this injury is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. These pockets allow the bacteria to move deeper into your gums.
Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (tartar).
This can occur both above and below the gumline. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place deteriorate.
If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Pain is usually not present until damage from this disease is very advanced. Sometimes the first thing a patient notices is their teeth are getting loose.
Healthy gums are generally pink and help the bone anchor the teeth firmly in place. Healthy gums do not bleed or hurt during normal brushing and flossing.
Early forms of gum disease (gingivitis) can easily be treated by a dental hygienist and maintained with daily brushing and flossing. To keep the gums health an appointment with the hygienist every 6 months is advised. Family Dental Group can get you on your way to healthy gums. All you need to do is call (406) 541-2886 or request an appointment online and come in for a visit. Your gums will be glad you did!
Periodontal Health Effects
Studies have shown links between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes, stroke, heart disease and other health conditions. Inflammation in the gums can spread inflammation to the rest of the body. Periodontal disease is like a low grade infection that your body has to fight all the time.
Researcher’s conclusions suggest that bacteria present in infected gums can become loose and move throughout the body through the bloodstream. Once bacteria reaches the arteries, they can irritate them in the same way that they irritate gum tissue causing arterial plaque, which can cause hardening and affect blood-flow.
Suppress the urge to avoid cleaning teeth that are sensitive to cold! Teeth that have suffered damage from gum disease may always be more sensitive to cold. Avoiding them only makes it worse.
After any dental treatment, teeth may become sensitive. This is their way of letting you know that they’ve been injured. Any injury (cavity, tooth clenching/grinding, gum infection) can injure the nerves in a tooth. This should not last long if the teeth are kept clean. If the teeth are not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain or get worse. .
If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your dentist. This could be a sign of the need for root canal treatment or a gum tissue graft to cover root surfaces. But often a desensitizing toothpaste (with potassium nitrate)—available over the counter, or a concentrated fluoride gel (1.1% sodium-fluoride)-a prescription from the dentist will reduce tooth sensitivity. There are also desensitizing coatings a dentist or hygienist can apply the will help with tooth sensitivity.
Stages Of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis develops as toxins, enzymes and other plaque byproducts by irritating the gums, making them tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily. Gingivitis generally can be stopped with proper oral hygiene—brushing and flossing. A dental prophylaxis (cleaning) by a dental hygienist is needed to remove tartar. With these steps, your gums can return to a healthy state.
Periodontitis is gum disease where the gums now have pockets forming around the teeth and with the loss of the supporting bone. Periodontitis occurs when plaque byproducts destroy the tissues that anchor your teeth in the bone. The gums deteriorate and begin detaching themselves from the teeth forming gum pockets, which allows more plaque to collect below the gumline. This causes the roots of the teeth to become susceptible to decay. As the pockets in the gums become deeper and infection called a periodontal abscess can occur.
Advanced periodontitis occurs when a major amount of gum and bone has been lost. The teeth are losing support due to the loss of periodontal ligament and bone—the teeth can become noticeably loose. Advanced periodontal disease can require that some teeth be extracted. If left untreated, advanced periodontitis can cause severe health problems elsewhere in the body.