Periodontics

What Green Bay Patients Need to Know About Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

periodontal disease

The term periodontal means “around the tooth.”  Periodontal disease is a common, often painless inflammatory condition affecting the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth as well as the jawbone in its advanced stages. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide.

Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue.  The toxins in plaque irritate and inflame the gum tissues if it is not properly removed. Once the infection colonizes in the gum pockets between your teeth, it becomes difficult to treat.

Types of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) affects the supporting and surrounding tissue of the gums and the underlying jawbone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in loose, unstable teeth, and even tooth loss.

There are several variations of periodontal disease and multiple ways in which they can manifest in your mouth. Each requires immediate treatment to stop its progression and to save your gum tissue, bone, and ultimately your teeth.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontal disease and is caused by the toxins in plaque. If not treated, it leads to periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease.

Chronic Periodontal Disease

Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of periodontitis and occurs much more frequently in people over 45. It is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. The gums begin receding, making the teeth look longer.

Aggressive Periodontal Disease

Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment and the rapid loss of bone tissue. While the disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis, it progresses much faster and is much more prevalent in smokers.

Periodontal Disease Related to Systemic Conditions

Periodontal disease is closely related to other systemic conditions and can have serious effects on the body. If you already have these underlying conditions, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

This form of the disease is extremely rare but worsens rapidly. It is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress and those who smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament and is one of the only forms of periodontitis that causes painful gums.

If you have any question or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, call the office of Dr. Brusky at (920) 662-1440.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

You may suffer from periodontal disease without showing any signs or symptoms. You may think, since there’s no pain, there must be no infection. This is why Dr. Brusky advocates for regular dental checkups.
If you suffer from periodontal disease, you may experience unexplained dental bleeding, such as when you brush, floss or eat, or even the presence of pus around the teeth and gums. You may experience pain, swelling or redness of the gums. Your teeth might begin to appear longer, your teeth may become loose, spaces may appear between the teeth, and you almost always have bad breath.

Causes of Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Gum or periodontal disease affects four out of five adults. Experts have said that it’s as common as the everyday cold. While it can be caused by genetic or environmental factors, it’s entirely preventable with a few positive lifestyle changes.

Behaviors That Can Contribute to Gum Disease

The most common causes of periodontal disease include poor oral hygiene and tobacco use. If you’re not brushing and flossing at least once, preferably twice, daily, you could be leaving yourself open to gum disease. Tobacco use, whether smoked or chewed, is also high-risk because it leads to inflammation of the gums and is compounded by the fact that tobacco causes you to heal at a slower rate, so the problem just becomes worse over time.

Other causes include genetics, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as chronic stress, poor diet, and diabetes or some other medical issue.

Not many people know this, but periodontal disease can also be exacerbated by teeth grinding and certain medications.

Gum Disease and Total Systemic Health

And if that’s not bad enough, periodontal disease has been linked to a number of systemic diseases like stroke, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

If you smoke, you might want to stop, as smoking is one of the greatest risk factors for periodontal disease. To combat the disease, practice good oral hygiene, eat a balanced diet with less carbohydrate-rich foods, and schedule regular dental visits. Keeping these positive lifestyle choices as habits can help to reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

If you suspect you suffer from periodontal disease or you would like a thorough examination, and you live in De Pere, Seymour, Howard, Pulaski, or Shawano, call (920) 662-1440 or use the handy form on the right to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Brusky today.

Contact the Center for Dental Excellence in Green Bay