What is gum disease?
Disease of the gums and supporting structures of our teeth begin with minerals in our saliva joining with the soft bacterial plaque layer that coats our teeth. Over time the minerals harden the plaque layer to form “tartar” or “calculus” on our teeth. This layer causes inflammation of the tissues around teeth, a process that is known as “gingivitis”. Over time, the inflammation coupled with by-products released by the bacteria erodes the bone and gums that support teeth. This process is known as “periodontitis.” Should these processes not be prevented or managed, they can result in a person losing their teeth! One way we determine the extent of disease is by doing a periodontal evaluation which is a measurement of gum and bone support around teeth and the extent of inflammation. These measurements aid us in developing a plan as to how often you should ideally be getting scaling treatments done.
Periodontal or gum disease is a very common infectious disease. In North America, periodontal disease affects about 75% of adults over the age of 35. Despite the high number of infections, 80% of adults believe that they do not have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be painless until well into the advanced stages and is the primary cause of tooth loss in North American adults. Some signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are: bad breath, loose teeth, gums that bleed easily, swollen and/or painful gums, and a bad taste coming from the gums. Calculus which has been hardened on the teeth can become stained over time which can cause teeth to appear darker. Stained calculus cannot be whitened with teeth bleaching products.