Jeffrey D. Rogers, DDS, LLC     Anchorage:  907-561-7110
Periodontics and Implant Dentistry                 Fairbanks:  907-388-9270


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Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.  Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth.  The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth.  In addition, factors including but not limited to smoking, genetics, stress, medications and systemic diseases also affect the health of your gums.

Periodontal disease begins when your gums become red and swollen due to the accumulation of dental plaque.  Often, there is little discomfort and you may not even notice that there is a problem.   Gingivitis, which is the mildest form of periodontal disease, is often the result of poor oral hygiene and can be easily reversed with professional treatment and home care.  Unfortunately, if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious periodontal problems.  If dental plaque is allowed to grow below the gum line it may overwhelm your body's ability to fight the infection and the health of your teeth is jeopardized.


What Can Cause Infection Activity?

People with periodontal disease have low resistance to periodontal bacteria.  Each time this gum infection grows, more support around your teeth is lost.  Some factors which can cause this are:

                         *  Poor oral hygiene                                                         
                         *  Dental plaque                                 
                         *  Smoking                                            
                         * Genetic factors
                         * Stress or tension
                         * Diet
                         * Age
                         * Illness

Symptoms

Usually periodontal infection is painless until it reaches more advanced stages.  There are some symptoms, however, that can indicate the presence of periodontal infection.  These include:

                         *  Red or swollen gums
                         *  Bleeding when brushing or at other times
                         *  Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
                         *  Receding gums (teeth begin to look longer)
                         *  Bad breath
                         *  Any change int he way your teeth fit together when you bite
                         *  Loose, separating or protruding teeth
                         *  Spaces between your teeth

It is important to note that your gums can look and feel quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can still be present.  To be certain, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.