Statistics show that almost half of all American adults over the age of thirty years have some form of periodontal disease, and that number increases with age. The terms periodontitis, periodontal disease and gum disease are interchangeable, and they all refer to the infectious, inflammatory disease affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth.
What is Periodontitis?
It helps if you break down the word itself. Peri- means around, -odont means tooth, and –itis means inflammation. Putting those root words together gives you an accurate definition: inflammation of the tissues around the teeth. The periodontal tissues consist of the jawbone that holds the roots of the teeth, the gums covering the bone, and a tiny ligament that connects the bone and teeth called the periodontal ligament. All of these tissues suffer destruction in the condition of periodontitis.
Periodontal disease always begins with bacteria that live within dental plaque. When you do not adequately remove plaque from the teeth and gums, these bacteria emit toxins into the tissues. Our bodies’ response to the toxins is inflammation. Acute inflammation is good because it alerts us to a problem through redness, swelling and bleeding in the gums. When there is no intervention to stop acute inflammation, it transitions into chronic inflammation, which is bad. Chronic inflammation is destructive in nature, responding to the disease by breaking down the ligament, bone and gums around the teeth. This is how periodontitis gets worse and worse over time.
Why Is It Important to Treat Periodontitis?
Scientific research over the last few decades links periodontitis to several dangerous health problems, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic gum disease greatly increases your risk for these serious health concerns and makes it more difficult for you to overcome them.
Not only can periodontitis affect your whole body, it can cause tooth loss. Over time, as the inflammatory disease destroys the supporting structures around the teeth, they can loosen and fall out.
What Treatment is Necessary for Periodontitis?
The first line of attack is always the removal of bacterial buildup from the teeth. This bacteria forms both soft dental plaque and hard tartar (or calculus). As the disease breaks down the connection between the teeth and supportive tissues, deep pockets develop, which are perfect hiding spots for this buildup. Unfortunately, you cannot access these areas to clean, so professional intervention is necessary.
Your Premier Dental dentist will devise a treatment plan for your specific level of the disease. It will include a professional teeth cleaning, and depending on the severity of the disease, could also involve some periodontal surgery. Surgery is necessary to restore the bone and gums to a state of health in severe gum disease. There is also reconstructive surgery through bone and gum grafting to rebuild the support that was lost.
We can treat Periodontitis
If you struggle with chronic gum infections, let the caring, compassionate dental teams at Premier Dental of Ohio help. Our board certified dentists will work with you to create a care plan and along with your dental hygienist, we'll work to get your gums healthy again. Find your nearest Premier location and schedule an appointment today.