Our team at Fine Periodontics knows that in order to keep your teeth in your mouth, you must maintain the health of the gum tissues that support them. Having healthy, pink gums surrounding your teeth improves your appearance, helping you to feel happier and more confident. However, when your gum tissue becomes infected with periodontal disease (also known as gum disease), then your gums can recede, swell, and become red. If this condition remains untreated, then the jaw bone tissue that supports and surrounds your teeth begins to deteriorate, which can result in tooth loss. Missing teeth will mar the appearance of your smile while also making chewing and speaking more difficult. You can learn more about gum disease and its effects by calling Dr. Norman B. Fine or taking a look at the pages below:
- Oral Hygiene
- Preventing Gum Disease
- The Mouth-Body Connection
- When to See a Periodontist
- Women and Periodontal Health
Periodontal disease occurs when plaque causes infection and inflammation in the gums. Some of the tissues this disease affects include the alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, cementum, and gingiva. There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis always precedes periodontitis, though it doesn’t always progress into this later stage if you receive gum disease treatment.
Plaque is a clear film of oral bacteria which constantly collects on the teeth, even if you have just cleaned them. If plaque is not brushed and flossed away regularly, then it can harden into rough, calcified tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque and tartar produce toxins that irritate gum tissues. When they extend under the gum line, then they cause gingivitis. This stage of periodontal disease is characterized by gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen, and inflamed. Eventually, the gum tissues will pull away from the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that trap food, plaque, and tartar.
If gingivitis advances to periodontitis, then the symptoms become more severe because of the immune system’s more aggressive response to plaque bacteria. Both the gum and bone tissue surrounding teeth begin to deteriorate, causing your teeth to loosen and fall out.
Often people do not realize they have periodontal disease because it is usually painless until it reaches its more advanced stages. Studies show that 80% of Americans will experience some form of periodontal disease by the age of 45, and 4 out of 5 of them will not realize they have this condition. Keeping a good oral hygiene routine and regularly visiting a dentist are crucial elements in preventing gum disease from developing. If you would like to learn more about this condition, then contact our periodontist in Greenville, South Carolina.