Itchy gums and Gingivitis was the topic of our last blog and spoke about the importance of seeking dental treatment that addresses the early signs and symptoms of Gingivitis – before it progresses and becomes Periodontal Disease.
Toxins that are produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate gums – causing them to become inflamed, puffy and bleed easily. When plaque is not removed, with regular cleanings, the amount of toxin activity increases, impacting hard tissue (bone) as well as causing further damage to soft tissue (gums) and overall oral health. It’s the spread of destruction to include bone and ligaments that turns Gingivitis into Periodontal Disease. The word Periodontitis refers to inflammation of tissue that surrounds a tooth – gum, bone and ligaments – and is a serious condition because it threatens the support of teeth – increasing the risk of premature tooth loss due to extensive bone damage.
Like many conditions and diseases: Periodontal Disease strikes more frequently in the aging population. But, that’s not to suggest that it’s just the aged that are prone to gum disease and tooth loss – people who smoke, take recreational drugs, have other systemic conditions or diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, live with poor nutrition and stress and have a genetic predisposition for the disease – are all at risk for developing Periodontal Disease. And those of us who are ignoring the milder symptoms of Gingivitis have to be careful, as this condition that is considered ‘normal’ and un-alarming can quickly progress to include all periodontal tissues.
Just like the treatment of Gingivitis – Periodontal Disease requires regular dental cleanings to keep the production of plaque under control. Sometimes your general dentist will feel that it’s in your best interest to be treated by a Periodontist – a specialist in periodontal conditions – and a referral will be made. But when patient compliance is high and regular cleanings are being maintained – there’s no reason why your general dental office can’t treat any hard and soft tissue issues.