What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which cause loss of supporting bone. This group appears to be at greatest risk of losing teeth through periodontal disease. It is caused by the bacteria which regularly collect on the teeth.
Around 10% of the population is susceptible. Our knowledge is improving all the time of why this is, although 3 major factors are thought to be responsible. Family history, stress and smoking are all important risk factors. Stopping smoking is an important part of reducing the risk of developing the disease. Certain general diseases such as diabetes may also make an individual more susceptible.
The signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are extremely variable but may include gums that bleed on brushing together with signs of more advanced disease such as mobility or drifting of the teeth. However, it is possible to have the disease and not be aware of these signs. It is essential to attend a general dental practitioner regularly so that special assessment techniques, sometimes including x-rays, can be carried out as part of your routine dental examinations.
We can help if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease. Occasionally very advanced cases will be referred to a specialist periodontist.