What are periodontal diseases?
The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal diseases, also called gum diseases, are serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth. If the inflammation is left untreated, the disease will continue and the underlying bones around the teeth will dissolve, and will no longer be able to hold the teeth in place. Generally, periodontal disease isn’t painful, so it is possible to have it and not be aware of it. A dentist specializing in periodontal disease is called a periodontist.
What causes periodontal disease?
As with many other oral health diseases, bacteria and plaque build-up is often the culprit. In fact, plaque build-up is the leading cause of gum disease. Other potential causes of gum disease include:
- lifestyle choices
- a diet low in nutrients
- smoking / the use of smokeless tobacco
- autoimmune or systemic diseases
- hormonal changes in the body
- bruxism (incessant clenching of the teeth)
- certain medications
Treatment for periodontal disease:
Specific treatment for periodontal disease will be determined by your dentist based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference