What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is a chronic infection of the gums that gradually destroys the support for your natural teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Dental plaque is the main cause of gum disease. Plaque is composed of food particles, bacteria, and toxins. It irritates the gums, causing gingival inflammation (“gingivitis“), which may progress to periodontal disease and tooth loss. Plaque can harden into tartar (“calculus”) which can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
During chronic periodontitis, the gums separate from the teeth forming deep pockets which trap plaque and calculus. Periodontal treatment is the only way to remove irritants and promote reattachment of the gum to the teeth. Treatment is needed to stop the progressive infection and prevent tooth loss. Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors, like smoking, diabetes, local irritants, and your bite. Dr. Meraw and Dr. Plonka will evaluate and treat these factors to control your disease.
Periodontal disease is dangerous because it is often painless and symptomless. When present, symptoms include red, swollen, bleeding gums and bad breath. Half of Americans are affected by periodontal disease. It is important to maintain proper home oral care and regular dentist visits to reduce the risk of developing gum disease. Periodontal disease has been associated with systemic conditions.like heart disease.
Saving your teeth is directly dependent on proper periodontal care and maintenance. Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red. In later stages, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth will shift, loosen, or fall out. These changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak, they also spoil your smile.
To learn more about treatment of periodontal disease, call our office at (586) 751-0070.