Periodontal Disease

What are periodontal pockets?

Periodontal Disease Dental Treatment - Palm HarborPeriodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums and is reversible if treated at an early stage. The most destructive form of periodontal disease and the major cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontitis, which causes irreversible changes in the supporting tissues and even destruction of the bone that holds the teeth in place as a result of an inflammatory process. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis. In the absence of inflammation, the bone will not regenerate; however, the damaging process can be arrested. For more information and surgical regeneration procedures, please go to the American Academy of Periodontology web site.

Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco smoking or chewing

  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes

  • Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

  • Bridges that no longer fit properly

  • Crooked teeth

  • Fillings that have become defective

  • Pregnancy

Several warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • Gums that bleed easily

  • Red, swollen, tender gums

  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste

  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating

  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures