Periodontal Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is insidious. It is a bacterial infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This is the early stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis. Left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place. Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signals. The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don't know why.

Tooth loss is the most obvious indicator of gum disease but the disease and its affects influence many other issues. Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and premature infant birth - an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.

Periodontal disease cannot be cured in an appointment or two.  In fact, like being diagnosed with diabetes, it suggests that your body has a weakness and that you may be prone to difficulty the rest of your life.  This does not mean that you cannot control it.  The dental staff will educate you on causes and methods of care that will help you stabilize it and prevent further progression of bone loss.  You can not ever get back the supportive tissues you lose as a result of the disease though so do not put off diagnosis or treatment.  Start today!

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