FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: I have been going to see my dentist for several years, and have had my teeth cleaned every six months. Why has my dentist not told me that I have gum disease?
A: Your dentist has most likely done everything in his/her power to contain your periodontal condition, however, it has progressed to the point that ordinary dental procedures can no longer contain your periodontal condition, and the intervention by a periodontist has become necessary
Q: WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
A: Periodontitis, gum disease, or pyorrhea, is a bacterial infection. Unfortunately, it is not caused by just one type of bacteria, which would make its treatment a great deal easier, but, by a complex and difficult group of bacteria, which renders treatment by normal methods i.e. antibiotics, virtually impossible. If untreated, this infection may lead to the destruction of the underlying supporting structures of the teeth, such as the bone and gums, which, in turn, may cause eventual tooth loss. It is estimated that approximately 75% of the American population has some form of gum disease. As a matter of fact, periodontitis, or gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the United States.
Q: What are the classifications of periodontal disease?
A: The three classifications of periodontal disease are Gingivitis, Periodontitis and Advance Periodontitis:
- Gums appear red and swollen
- Bleeding may occur when gums are touched
- Teeth are still firmly in place with no damage to supporting bone structure
- Loss of gum/tooth attachment occurs
- Pockets form between teeth and gums
- Tissue that binds teeth to bone is inflamed
- Bone loss occurs
- Gums recede dramatically from teeth
- Pockets deepen severely and may hold pus
- Teeth become extremely loose and may fall out or need to be extracted
- Severe bone loss occurs
For more information about periodontal disease, go to http://www.perio.org .
Q: I have not had any pain in my gums. Shouldn't I have felt some signs ofperiodontal disease?
A: Not necessarily. Periodontitis is what is known as a silent disease. Most patients are not even aware that they have it. The best analogy that we can provide to you is that of heart disease. Most patients are not aware that they have heart disease until the either begin to develop chest pains or have a heart attack. Usually, by this time, heart disease is quite advanced. The same occurs with gum disease. Most of the time, when a patient starts to develop symptoms such as pain, gum abscesses, and tooth mobility, the periodontitis is exceptionally advanced.
Q: How would I know if I had gum disease?
A: There are several symptoms that accompany gum disease, however, remember that you may have gum disease without having any or some of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums while brushing your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath, odor or taste
- Loose teeth
- Spaces between your teeth that are not normally present
- Any changes in your bite pattern
- Any changes in the fit of partial dentures
Q: How is gum disease treated?
A: The treatment of gum disease depends on its degree of severity. The stages of gum disease are: early, moderate, and advanced, or combinations thereof. According to the severity of the disease, treatment may vary from a simple scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) and antibiotic therapy, to gum surgery with bone grafts and dental implants.
Q: Is gum disease contagious?
A: Periodontitis is transmissible. Research has found that the patient's immune system plays a very important role in the onset of periodontal disease.Specific bacteria is responsible for periodontal disease which can be passed to a spouse or significant other.Patients that have certain diseases, diabetes, for instance, are very susceptible to infections, thus more susceptible to gum disease. Patients that are immuno-suppressed, such as cancer patients, that are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or patients that have undergone organ transplantation, are exceptionally susceptible to periodontal disease. Patients with certain viral infections, HIV being the best example of this category, are extremely prone to developing rapidly destructive types of gum disease.
Q: Does heredity play a role in gum disease?
A: Yes, it does. Studies have shown that certain groups of people are more susceptible to periodontitis. A very defined group of Mediterranean Jews are also very prone to the development of gum disease. The susceptibility to being infected by these bacteria have also been demonstrated in children of parents that have gum disease.
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- 400 Bay View Road Ste K
- Mukwonago, WI 53149
- Phone: 262-363-1933
- Fax: 262-521-3476