What is Periodontal Disease?

 

Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues of the teeth including the gums, bone, root surface and ligament.

 

Approximately 15 per cent of the population has a significant degree of periodontitis, which is a major cause of tooth loss. Some people are more at risk than others. Contributing factors include smoking, diabetes, stress, pregnancy and various medications. Good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist and early intervention can help prevent periodontal disease. For those who already have periodontal disease, LANAP provides a revolutionary alternative to traditional gum surgery.

Gum disease warning signs

 

Indicators of periodontal disease can include:

 

  • Red, bleeding and sore gums

  • Chronic halitosis (foul breath)

  • Root exposure

  • Pain or discomfort when chewing

  • Missing teeth

  • Fever, in extreme cases 

 

These warning signs indicate moderate or advanced periodontal disease. You really need to be seeking treatment BEFORE it progresses to this stage.

 

The solution is simple - visit your dentist. Even if you don’t see or feel any warning signs, a competent dentist will spot the problem at an early stage.

 

How does periodontal disease start?

 

  • Often, after you eat something, a white deposit called plaque is left on your teeth. The plaque is soft and can be easily removed by brushing and flossing.

 

  • If the plaque is not removed, after 3 to 5 days it crystallises, hardens and becomes calculus or tartar. Calculus is extremely tough and must be removed by a dentist's tools. It's surface is rough and pitted with tiny holes where bacteria can hide and multiply.

 

  • Your body sends powerful chemicals to the area to dissolve the bacteria. Unfortunately, those chemicals are strong enough to also dissolve the protective gingival collar, the connective tissue attachment between the gums and teeth.

 

  • Once this connective tissue is damaged, bacteria can start to access the bone underneath the gum. Your body sends more chemicals to attack the bacteria and this is when gum and bone start to dissolve.

 

  • When gum and bone loss starts to occur, an official diagnosis of periodontitis can be made. Whether or not this condition can be reversed depends how quickly you obtain treatment.

 

  • It may be impossible for you to see or feel the severity of the problem. Your dentist has the tools and knowledge to assess the damage and progression of the condition. 

 

  • Mild periodontal disease involves a reduction of less than 10% of bone. Bone loss of 10 to 25% is moderate periodontitis, which may be accompanied by loose teeth, uncomfortable brushing and pus in the affected area, and must be treated as soon as possible to save the tooth. More than 25% bone loss is advanced periodontal disease and at that point it may be too late to avoid the necessity of extracting the tooth.

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