Periodontal Disease. How did I get it? How bad is it? Are you sure Doc?

Last time we talked about what periodontal disease was and some of the factors that are involved in the disease. Today we will discuss who may be at risk and some things to look out for. We will discuss the stages involved and severities that go along with the stages and how is periodontal disease different from gingivitis.


Plaque is a film that acquires on the surface of your tooth. When we brush our teeth that biofilm containing proteins, sugars, and bacteria are removed. If we miss the opportunity to remove that plaque biofilm it accumulates on the tooth surface and will eventually build up. The build up will cause more material to make its way below the gum surface interrupting the peaceful life our gums are enjoying causing our gums to become red and puffy. This is gingivitis or inflammation of the gums.


If we do not stop the gingivitis stage the material already on your teeth will continue to accumulate starting the process of calcification in the biofilm that is present. When the calculus begins to accumulate it is then impinging on the attachment of the bone and gum tissue around the tooth leading to recession. Recession is the factor leading to mobility and loose teeth. Recession is the factor that causes sensitivity. Recession that is not arrested will lead to loss of the teeth.


Am I at risk? Well let’s check! If you do not brush regularly you are at risk. If you have a systemic disease such as diabetes, HIV or other autoimmune diseases you are at risk. If you are a smoker you are at risk. Lastly, yes genetics can also put you at risk. Does a risk mean you will get periodontal disease? No, the risk factor merely means you must be more diligent in your home care as well as maintaining your dental appointments. A true periodontal evaluation is the only true way to diagnose periodontal disease and set up to begin treatment.


There are 3 stages of periodontal disease outside of the healthy gums and gingivitis. Early, moderate, and advanced periodontal disease. There are differences in the signs and symptoms between the 3 stages and as such there are differences in the treatments you may receive with each stage as well. We will discuss each stage in detail on the next post.


Thank you,


Dr. Graves

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