Your Oral Health

About Periodontal Disease

Most people have a good knowledge of tooth decay. We know that to prevent decay, it is important to brush our teeth and watch the sweets in our diets. However what many individuals are surprised to find out is that more teeth are lost to periodontal disease than to tooth decay. While public awareness of gum disease is increasing, general knowledge of the most serious periodontal disease, periodontitis, is limited. For the advertisements about the importance of preventing gingivitis, it is significant that the chief cause of tooth loss in adults is due to periodontitis, not gingivitis. 

Gum disease often termed the “silent disease,” is one of the most common dental problems seen in adults today.  Statistics show that 3 out of 4 Americans are suffering from some degree of periodontal disease, and in most cases are not aware that they have this gum condition until they visit with Dr. Yurovsky.  Periodontal disease is a potentially serious gum condition in which serious pain and inflammation is inflicted onto the oral tissue and bone, in more severe cases tooth loss can occur.  This makes routine dental care an important preventative measure for keeping healthy teeth and gums, allowing Dr. Yurovsky to spot potential health concerns in early stages of development.

Aside from oral health damage that periodontal disease inflicts onto the oral cavity--- gum recession and tooth loss--- there are other serious medical problems which are associated with the contraction of this disease. Research has shown that the same bacterium that is present in this gum condition can potentially make its way into the bloodstream and journey to other parts of the body. This bacteria has been connected to health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes.  As ongoing research continues to define the manner in which periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance remains essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.

What Is an "Ongoing Infection?"

Stages of Periodontal Disease

Have you ever gotten a sliver of wood caught under the skin of your hand? Since the wound is open to bacteria, the site may become infected, and so therefore red and inflamed. In time, however, your immune system fights off the bacteria and your hand heals.

During an Ongoing Infection, however, your immune system is not able to conquer the bacteria on its own, and so the pain and redness continue to worsen.

Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection afflicting the pockets which surround your teeth. You cannot fight off this infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing the gum to heal as your hand had.

What Can Cause a "Burst" of Infection Activity?

Healthy Gums vs Periodontal DiseasePeople with periodontal disease have low resistance to periodontal bacteria. This results in an ongoing gum infection that grows in "bursts" of activity. Each time it grows, more and more support for your teeth is lost. Some factors which may result in a "burst" of activity include:

  1. Poor oral hygiene
  2. Dental plaque
  3. Smoking
  4. Stress or tension
  5. Genetic factors
  6. Age
  7. Diet
  8. Illness

Getting Periodontal Infection Treated Right Away

When your infection has a burst of activity, or when there are signs that this is about to occur, your general dentist may recommend that you see a Periodontist.

Symptoms of Periodontal Infection

Periodontal infection is Usually Painless until it reaches an advanced stage. However, there are some symptoms which may indicate the presence of periodontal infection.

These include:

  1. Red or swollen gums
  2. Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
  3. Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
  4. Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
  5. Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
  6. Bad breath
  7. Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  8. Any change in the fit of partial dentures
  9. Loose, separating or protruding teeth
  10. Spaces between teeth

If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.

Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal, and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection may nevertheless be present. In order to be certain about any periodontal disease, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.