Periodontal diseases, which include gingivitis and periodontitis are serious infections caused by bacteria. If left untreated the periodontal disease progression can lead to bone loss and subsequent tooth loss. Many times patients refer to this as "gum disease”, but it also involves the supporting bone of teeth. The disease process begins when the bacteria in plaque, which is the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on teeth causes the gums to become inflamed.
Many times periodontal disease causes no symptoms, especially in its early stages. But don’t be fooled because this silent disease can eventually lead to massive bone loss and support of teeth.
Today there is also evidence that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease are also linked to more general health problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, diabetes and other serious conditions.
This is the mildest form of periodontal disease. The gums become inflamed, red, swollen, and usually bleed easily. There is usually no discomfort or symptoms at this stage. Inadequate tooth brushing and oral hygiene often cause gingivitis. This disease can often be reversed with dental cleanings and regular brushing and flossing. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to Periodontitis.
This disease is caused by not treating the gingivitis early. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Bacterial toxins initiate an inflammatory response in the area, which causes subsequent damage to the underlying tissues in the area. The gum tissues separate from the teeth, forming pockets along the side of teeth and they become infected with bacteria. As the disease progresses, the pockets get deeper at the expense of the bone. If enough bone is lost, the teeth become loose and start to migrate.