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What is Periodontal Disease?

Posted on Thursday, Nov. 26th 2009 7:58 AM by Dental Plan Reviews in Dental Help, Dental News, General News, Oral Surgery, Technology 1 Comment »

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.

Causes

Bacteria in the mouth infect tissue surrounding the tooth, causing inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque, which eventually hardens to tartar, also called calculus. Tartar build-up can spread below the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean. Then, only a dental health professional can remove the tartar and stop the periodontal disease process.

Warning signs

The following are warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Bad breath or bad taste that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Risk factors

Certain factors increase the risk for periodontal disease:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Crooked teeth
  • Underlying immuno-deficienciese.g., AIDS
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Taking medications that cause dry mouth
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Female hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives

Prevention and treatment

Gingivitis can be controlled and treated with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning. More severe forms of periodontal disease can also be treated successfully but may require more extensive treatment. Such treatment might include deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums, medications prescribed to take by mouth or placed directly under the gums, and sometimes corrective surgery.

To help prevent or control periodontal diseases, it is important to:

  1. Brush and floss every day to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease.
  2. See a dentist at least once a year for checkups, or more frequently if you have any of the warning signs or risk factors mentioned above.

If you can’t afford dental care, you may be able to find help through the following sources:

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration supports a network of “safety net” clinics for people who qualify for reduced-cost care, and many have a dental clinic (toll free: 1-888-275-4772).
  • Most dental schools* have a clinic staffed by the professors and students, where care is provided based on your ability to pay.
  • Your state dental organization* may be able to refer you to dentists in your area who provide care at a reduced rate.
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Posted on Thursday, Nov. 26th 2009 7:58 AM | by Dental Plan Reviews | in Dental Help, Dental News, General News, Oral Surgery, Technology | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “What is Periodontal Disease?”

  1. Rena Says:

    Pregnancy Increases Women’s Risk for Oral Infections

    Pregnancy is characterized by physiological changes,
    including fluctuating hormones. These changes may
    increase susceptibility to oral infections such as periodontal disease and hinder the body’s ability to repair
    and maintain soft tissues within the mouth.11 During
    pregnancy, reversible mild inflammation of the gums,
    called “pregnancy gingivitis,” is estimated to occur in
    30 to 100 percent of pregnant women.12 Untreated
    gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, believed to affect
    5 to 20 percent of pregnant women. Periodontitis can
    erode the bone and other supporting structures of
    teeth and ultimately result in tooth loss.

    Source: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/healthyliving/childfamily/Documents/MO-OHP-PerinatalBrief9-08.pdf

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