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PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Periodontal Disease (Periodontitis) affects the tissues which provide support to the teeth. These tissues are the gingiva (gum), alveolar bone, periodontal ligament (PDL) and cementum. The PDL attaches the cementum covering the tooth root to the bone. When the periodontium is healthy this attachment is secure, the gingivae are light pink and firm, and do not bleed on gentle probing or flossing.

Bacterial plaque forms in our mouths each day. When plaque accumulates around the neck of the tooth and is allowed to age, it produces harmful toxins. The release of these toxins initiate an inflammatory response with the periodontium causing destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth. Eventually the teeth become mobile. Without treatment the teeth are lost.

Gingivitis is the initial stage of the disease. The gingivae and PDL are inflamed. Clinically, the tissues are swollen and bleed easily although there is often no discomfort. At this point the alveolar bone is still intact. Adequate treatment at this stage is reversible; ie: no permanent damage to the periodontium has occurred. If gingivitis is left untreated, however, it can result in periodontitis.

Periodontitis, in addition to inflammation of the gingivae and PDL, involves destruction of the alveolar bone. The cementum covering the tooth root becomes contaminated with calcified accretions of plaque. These accretions are called calculus and will gradually enlarge. A microscopic layer at a time is laid down, much like a coral reef. More toxins are released causing further tissue destruction resulting in loss of support for the teeth.

Periodontitis can be classified as Mild, Moderate or Advanced according to the amount of destruction. In advanced situations periodontal abscesses may form in the pockets surrounding the tooth. Abscesses are a collection of pus. When an abscess is present the tissue is destroyed at a very rapid rate. Abscesses may or may not be symptomatic.

Certain factors can affect the rate of progression of periodontal disease as well as influence individuals which may be at greater risk for the disease. Smoking, hormonal changes, poor dietary habits and certain systemic diseases can largely influence the presence of periodontitis as well as the rate in which the disease progresses. Intraoral factors contributing to periodontal disease are ill-fitting restorations, broken restorations, broken teeth, alignment of teeth including spacing, the presence of excessive gingivae which limits good plaque control, ill-fitting or plaque retentive removable appliances, mouth breathing and an unbalanced bite (occlusion).

PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Periodontal Disease (Periodontitis) affects the tissues which provide support to the teeth. These tissues are the gingiva (gum), alveolar bone, periodontal ligament (PDL) and cementum. The PDL attaches the cementum covering the tooth root to the bone. When the periodontium is healthy this attachment is secure, the gingivae are light pink and firm, and do not bleed on gentle probing or flossing.

Bacterial plaque forms in our mouths each day. When plaque accumulates around the neck of the tooth and is allowed to age, it produces harmful toxins. The release of these toxins initiate an inflammatory response with the periodontium causing destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth. Eventually the teeth become mobile. Without treatment the teeth are lost.

Gingivitis is the initial stage of the disease. The gingivae and PDL are inflamed. Clinically, the tissues are swollen and bleed easily although there is often no discomfort. At this point the alveolar bone is still intact. Adequate treatment at this stage is reversible; ie: no permanent damage to the periodontium has occurred. If gingivitis is left untreated, however, it can result in periodontitis.

Periodontitis, in addition to inflammation of the gingivae and PDL, involves destruction of the alveolar bone. The cementum covering the tooth root becomes contaminated with calcified accretions of plaque. These accretions are called calculus and will gradually enlarge. A microscopic layer at a time is laid down, much like a coral reef. More toxins are released causing further tissue destruction resulting in loss of support for the teeth.

Periodontitis can be classified as Mild, Moderate or Advanced according to the amount of destruction. In advanced situations periodontal abscesses may form in the pockets surrounding the tooth. Abscesses are a collection of pus. When an abscess is present the tissue is destroyed at a very rapid rate. Abscesses may or may not be symptomatic.

Certain factors can affect the rate of progression of periodontal disease as well as influence individuals which may be at greater risk for the disease. Smoking, hormonal changes, poor dietary habits and certain systemic diseases can largely influence the presence of periodontitis as well as the rate in which the disease progresses. Intraoral factors contributing to periodontal disease are ill-fitting restorations, broken restorations, broken teeth, alignment of teeth including spacing, the presence of excessive gingivae which limits good plaque control, ill-fitting or plaque retentive removable appliances, mouth breathing and an unbalanced bite (occlusion).