Periodontal disease is a broad term used to describe a group of various conditions affecting the gums, bone and connective tissues that surround and support your teeth. Most conditions are caused by bacteria-laden plaque that collects on or around the teeth, typically due to lack of effective daily oral hygiene maintenance.
When plaque isn’t properly removed, it hardens into tartar and has an intensely corrosive effect on your gums and connective tissues. Your gums may become red, swollen, sensitive and can even bleed—the signs of gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. These early signs of periodontal disease can often be reversed by adopting a healthy oral care routine, including regular brushing, flossing and professional cleanings by a dental hygienist.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontis, a further inflammation of areas around the tooth. Gum tissue will begin to pull away from your teeth and large pockets of space will form under the gumline that can become infected because they are difficult to clean. Infection is your body’s natural reaction to fight the constant build up of bacteria in those areas. But over time that infection spreads and begins to break down the connective tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to an abscess, loose or moving teeth and eventual tooth loss. As the body’s immune system continues to react to the presence of bacteria, extreme cases of periodontis can develop into systemic disease throughout the body.
There are additional factors that can increase your probability of developing periodontal disease such as diabetes, age and smoking. The Mailloux Dentistry team is equipped to educate you about your level of risk and the treatment options available to you. Our hygienists automatically perform annual gum exams on every patient to measure the depth of gum tissue surrounding each tooth. They make sure gum tissue is firm and not receding from the teeth, and identify deep-pocket areas that may require a more thorough cleaning.
Dr. Mailloux is able to treat and manage most early and minor types of periodontal* disease but sometimes she prefers to partner with a local periodontist to provide collaborative care. If you have questions or concerns about your gum health and would like to be evaluated, please contact our office today at (616) 392-3717.
*Dr. Mailloux is licensed as a general dentist; not licensed as a specialist.