What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
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Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and the bone around each tooth. It can be caused as a localized infection or a generalized one spread throughout the mouth. In its simplest form, periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that resides below the gum line and can usually be treated by physically removing the bacteria that caused the infection and bone loss.
One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is the bleeding of the gums. The first stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. From this stage onwards to the more serious stages, the bleeding of the gums will continue to occur. Another symptom of gum disease can come in the form of a bad odor. This odor can be present all the time or just limited to when flossing or eating. Puffy and red gums are also a symptom of periodontal disease. This inflammation is primarily triggered when the bacterial infection moves below the gum line. Lastly, periodontal disease can be caught through clinical diagnosis. During such a dental examination, the dentist takes measurements of the pockets around the teeth. If the length of these pockets exceed the 3mm figure, a patient is deemed to suffer from periodontal disease. For those tissues to be healthy, a bacterial presence below the gum should not be present, the length of the pockets should not exceed 2 to 3mm and lastly, bleeding shouldn’t occur.
If you think that you are suffering from periodontal disease, the first and most important thing to do is to get an exam with a practicing dentist. A thorough examination will include the measuring of all the pockets around the teeth, taking x-rays and an evaluation of the bite. The results of these tests will help the dentist establish the intensity of the infection and the corresponding treatment plan.