Periodontal Disease & Gum Disease

How is Periodontal Disease Related to Gum Disease?

Have you ever wanted to know the difference between periodontal disease and gum disease? Well, they are one in the same. The word periodontal means "around the tooth." Gum (periodontal) disease is a series of chronic bacterial infections that destroy the tissues and supporting bones surrounding your teeth. It may be isolated to just one tooth or affect several teeth at a time.

Healthy Gums vs. Unhealthy

You can do an at home evaluation if you know what to look signs to look for. Healthy gums will be pink or coral in color, firm, fit snugly around your teeth, and will not bleed easily. Some signs that you have unhealthy of gums may include red swollen gums that bleed easily, persistent bad breath, receding gum lines, changes in how your teeth fit together, and you may experience tooth sensitivity.

Symptoms and Stages

I am sure you have heard the term gingivitis, but did you know it is the beginning stage of gum (periodontal) disease? Gingivitis only affects the gum surrounding your teeth. It begins when bacteria toxins from plaque irritate the gums causing them to become red, swollen, and to bleed easily. Have you noticed any blood on your toothbrush or dental floss? Dental bleeding is considered abnormal and is an indication of poor oral health. Generally there is no discomfort associated with gingivitis and therefore it tends to go unnoticed or untreated.

Unless you have suffered from it or know someone who has, you probably aren't familiar with aggressive periodontitis. Aggressive periodontitis is more commonly known as pyorrhea. This is the second stage of gum (periodontal) disease caused from the accumulation of bacteria toxins below your gum line. The inner layer of your gum tissues and bone begin to recede and pockets begin to form between your teeth and gums. These pockets are v-shaped crevices called periodontal pockets. The depth of the pocket formation usually determines the severity of the disease. If you should notice any of the following symptoms you should see your dental care provider: chronic bad breath or (halitosis), gum tenderness, and bad taste because they are associated with this stage of the gum (periodontal) disease.

The third stage of gum (periodontal) disease is called chronic periodontitis. It is mainly associated with rapid and progressive bone and attachment loss. You can recognize chronic periodontitis by noticeable gum recession and/or the formation of deep pockets along your gums. As the infection spreads you may notice pus within the pockets. This stage of gum (periodontal) disease is painful and there will not be any tissue or bone remaining to anchor your teeth into their sockets. Your teeth will continue become progressively looser and tooth loss will be inevitable.

Prevention and Treatment

You need to see a professional dental care provider if you suspect any of the above symptoms. Early detection of gum disease can be reversed, but if untreated you are possibly going to experience irreversible tooth loss. Several non-surgical and surgical dental procedures are available that can reverse or restore your dental health. The treatment plan you dentist provides will depend on what stage and the severity of the disease you have. You can make a considerable difference in preventing gum (periodontal) disease with adequate oral care such as brushing and flossing your teeth daily.