Dr. Sid Solomon Explains What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Article Written by Dr. Sid Solomon

The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.”

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth. In its most advanced stages, periodontitis will even affect the jawbone.

Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis, which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat.

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss.

Finally, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue. There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease. We measure these pockets one by one and record our findings in a standard ADA approved periodontal charting form. The hygienist will usually call out the measurements (1-6 with 6 being the deepest pockets) while the dental assistant writes the numbers down. We measure the pockets using a periodontal probe which is a long, thin instrument that is blunted at the end. The tip of the probe is gently placed in between the teeth and gums and the markings on the probe aid in measuring the pocket depths.

Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:

• Chronic periodontitis – This form of gum disease occurs when inflammation within supporting tissues causes deep pockets and gum recession. It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in
actuality, the gums (gingiva) are receding. This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.
• Aggressive periodontitis – This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual. It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment and chronic bone destruction.
• Necrotizing periodontitis – This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immuno- suppression, and malnutrition. Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligaments, alveolar bone, and gingival tissues.
• Periodontitis caused by systemic disease – This form of gum disease often begins at an early age. Medical conditions such as respiratory disease, diabetes, and heart disease are common co-factors.

Dr. Solomon is a proud member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Professionals and certified to inject Botox for both therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. He believes in thoroughly understanding the patient’s needs before injecting. He is very conservative in his treatment with Botox and only applies the minimum amount required to render the best possible results.


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