The following five questions are the most commonly asked. However there are major developments in our knowledge of the relationship between periodontics and general health that we feel our patients should know about. Click on these links to learn more about periodontal disease and:
1. What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
2. What causes periodontal disease?
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors such as the following also affect the health of you gums: smoking/tobacco use, genetics, pregnancy and puberty, stress, medications, clenching or grinding your teeth, diabetes, poor nutrition and other systemic diseases.
3. Is periodontal disease painful?
Generally no discomfort is noticed unless the disease has been allowed to progress to a more severe stage. The earliest signs are inflamed tissue (gingivitis), with some bleeding while brushing and flossing.
4. What happens if I don't seek treatment?
As the disease progresses, more tissue and bone is destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss in adults yet most people have no symptoms.
5. Will my insurance plan cover periodontal treatment?
Most dental insurance plans offer coverage for the treatment of periodontal disease. The best way to determine what coverage is available to you is to review your policy or call your insurance carrier for assistance.
Additional information is available through the American Academy of Periodontology