Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. These diseases begin when bacteria in the plaque cause the gums to become inflamed. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, which can affect one or many teeth.

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Types of Periodontal Disease: Gingivitis & Periodontitis

There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis is considered to be the milder form of gum disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, there is very little to no discomfort and can often be caused by inadequate oral hygiene.

When gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into periodontitis, which is irreversible and progressive. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line producing toxins that irritate the gums. These toxins encourage a chronic inflammatory reaction in which the body, in essence, turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. What happens at this stage can destroy your gums and your smile entirely. Gums separate from the teeth forming infected spaces between the teeth and gums. As the disease continues, the spaces deepen, and more tissue and bone are destroyed. Periodontitis cannot be cured, only managed.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Regular dental visits which include exams, cleanings, and digital X-rays, are also an effective way to prevent periodontitis. A combination of excellent home care and professional dental care will preserve the natural dentition and support bony structures. When bacteria and calculus (tartar) are not removed, the gums and bone around the teeth become affected by bacteria toxins and can cause gingivitis or periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.
Research has indicated that smoking and tobacco use is one of the most significant factors in the development and progression of gum disease. In addition to smokers experiencing a slower recovery and healing rate, smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build-up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, and significant bone loss.
Despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines, as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. These individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than individuals with no genetic predisposition. Genetic tests can be used to determine susceptibility and early intervention can be performed to keep the oral cavity healthy.
During pregnancy, regular brushing and flossing are critical. Hormonal changes experienced by the body can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive, rendering it susceptible to gum disease.
Stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease, which means bacterial infections may possibly beat the body’s defense system. Poor diet or malnutrition can also lower the body’s ability to fight periodontal infections, as well as negatively affect the health of the gums.
Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease, including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to utilize insulin, which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control and cure.
The clenching or grinding of teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. Grinding one’s teeth is usually associated with a “bad bite” or the misalignment of the teeth. When an individual is suffering from gum disease, the additional destruction of gingival tissue due to grinding can accelerate the progression of the disease.
Many drugs including oral contraceptive pills, heart medicines, anti-depressants, and steroids affect the overall condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Steroid use promotes gingival overgrowth, which makes swelling more commonplace and allows bacteria to colonize more readily in the gum tissue.

Effects of Periodontal Disease

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research also suggests there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases, such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Bleeding gums: Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss
  • Loose teeth: Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth: Caused by bone loss
  • Persistent bad breath: Caused by bacteria in the mouth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums: Sign that there is an infection present
  • Receding gums: Loss of gum around a tooth
  • Red and puffy gums: Gums should never be red or swollen
  • Tenderness or discomfort: Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth

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Why Choose Us for Periodontal Disease Treatment?

  • No rotating doctors! Our dentists own and manage our dental offices, and you will always see the same dentist each time you visit
  • Our staff is multilingual to ensure every patient receives quality care geared toward restoring and enhancing their smile
  • Our dentists are caring and thoughtful professionals that provide dental solutions that are second-to-none
  • We follow strict sterilization techniques and cross-contamination prevention regulations as set by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The dental hygienist is very sweet and knowledgeable. I just love the atmosphere and the Doctor there too. I have had quite a bit of work done and they have made it seamless and comfortable (as it can be anyway).

Plaserae J.

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Since 2006, Martinez Dental Solutions has been serving Jacksonville and nearby communities, including: Orange Park, Ponte Vedra Beach, San Marco, Fleming Island, and St. Augustine. Request an appointment for our dental exams, cleaning and prevention services, cosmetic dentistry services, and dental restorations.

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