Gum Disease – FAQ PART 1
Gum Disease – FAQ PART 1
This article, part 1 of 4, presents a number of questions that are frequently asked by patients about periodontal (gum) disease.
According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control, an incredible 80% of the population presents with some form or stage of oral bacterial infection! While this may sound unrealistic, the fact is that this kind of oral affliction, in its infancy, causes symptoms that can quite easily go unnoticed or be ignored by patients for months and even years. Without the sharp and discerning eye of the dentist, an oral bacterial infection can go undiagnosed and untreated, thus allowing the problem to become acute and chronic, at which stage it becomes referred to as periodontal (gum) disease. The only hope we have of combating the pervasive nature of this terrible oral affliction is to spread awareness, says this dentist.. And so, without further ado, we present to you this four-part article series on the questions most frequently asked about gum disease.
FAQ # 1: What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is characterized as an acute (severe) and chronic (persistent) oral bacterial infection of the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. If left untreated by the dentist in , oral bacteria penetrates deep down into the gingival sulci, or tooth sockets, causing the teeth to decay and pockets of infection and toxin to accumulate between the root and the gum wall (see above picture).
FAQ # 2: What is the difference between periodontal (gum) disease and gingivitis?
Gingivitis, says the dentist in is a mild to moderate bacterial infection of the gingiva, or gum tissue. Left untreated, this condition worsens as a result of bacteria forming deep pockets of decay and toxin around the roots of the teeth. At this stage, we refer to it as periodontitis; peri meaning ‘around’, dont meaning ‘tooth’ and itis referring to the tissue’s inflammatory response to infection. In other words, gingivitis is a precursor to periodontitis or gum disease, says the dentist in . The difference between the two is a matter of degree, rather than nature.
FAQ # 3: Why is periodontal (gum) disease such a problem, in spite of our sophisticated medical technology and heightened healthcare awareness?
There are three main factors to consider when determining why the statistics for periodontal (gum) disease are so dire in the United States, says the dentist in . First of all, if people were strict about going to the dentist every six months for routine check-ups, then these statistics would certainly drop dramatically. Preventative healthcare is always the best approach, but if you aren’t seeking regular professional attention, then you are putting your oral health and smile aesthetics at a distinct disadvantage. To make matters worse, an oral bacterial infection can go unnoticed for months and even years simply because it doesn’t cause any painful symptoms. Patients generally ignore inflammation of the gums and mild bleeding when brushing, says the dentist in ; and these are tell-tale signs of infection! It’s only when patients are told by a close friend or family member that they have a problem – perhaps chronic bad breath or severely discolored teeth – that they start to notice how far deteriorated their oral health has become.
The last factor to consider is fear. A great number of patients are terribly worried or anxious about seeking treatment for gum disease, says the dentist in . This could stem from a feeling of embarrassment or shame at having allowed their oral health to deteriorate so much. It could also be a result of a fear of the nature of the treatment involved; many patients believe that they will need to go through pain and torture to get their oral health back on track and this couldn’t be further from the truth, says the dentist in . The modern solution for periodontal infection and disease does not necessarily involve surgery; in fact, the use of lasers has rendered treatment virtually pain-free!
Ask the Dentist in : Stay Tuned
If you would like to find out more about periodontal (gum) disease, its symptoms and treatment, then stay tuned for the second installment of this four-part article series, courtesy of this dentist..
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