Periodontics involves the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gum
disease by a general dentist or a periodontist.
Periodontal Disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, bone and ligaments that support
the teeth and anchor them in the jaw. The bacteria are normal inhabitants of the mouth
and form a film of dental plaque and calculus (tartar), which stick to the teeth.
The bacteria produce poisonous toxins, which stimulate the immune response to fight
the infection. If the disease process is not stopped, the supporting structures of
the teeth will continue to be destroyed. This eventually leads to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can occur at any age. Over half of all people over the age of 18 have
some form of the disease. After age 35, over 75% of all people are affected. Unfortunately,
the disease process is usually asymptomatic and painless. The disease can be easily detected during regular dental examinations. The most common type of periodontal disease are GINGIVITIS and PERIODONTITIS.
HEALTHY GUMS AND BONE
Gums appear light pink and are sharply defined.
Bone completely surrounds the roots of the teeth.
Teeth are firmly anchored into the bone.
GINGIVITIS is infection of the gingiva (gum tissue), and is the initial stage of the disease process. Gums become red, swollen and may bleed easily. Underlying bone levels are unaffected.
PERIODONTITIS is classified as being Mild, Moderate or Severe, depending upon the amount of destruction to the gums, ligaments and bone that surround teeth. As the disease progresses, gums separate from the teeth and form gum pockets. These pockets get deeper as more underlying bone is destroyed. Gum pockets will collect increasing amounts of bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) as the disease process worsens. Teeth will loosen as more bone is lost.
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