Periodontal means the "tissue around the teeth". This comes from the Greek word peri- which means around and -odons which means tooth. In plain English, it is referring to the gums.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth.
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This word comes from the Latin word gingiva- which means gums and -itis which means inflammation.
This a milder form of gum disease and is caused by a bacterial infection. It is identifiable by red and inflamed gum tissue that tends to bleed more easily. Also, it usually doesn't hurt. When left unhandled the condition worsens and results in damage and destruction of connective tissue around the teeth and jaw bone which then leads to tooth loss. This is because the bacteria produces toxins (poisons) that cause this damage and destruction.
Periodontitis is the moderate to severe form of gum disease indicating active bone infection and/or bone loss. A sign of Periodontitis is the formation of "pockets" around the base of the teeth because of tissue separating from the teeth. These pockets provide a home for bacteria, that because of the poisons they produce, will cause the bone and tooth-supporting tissues to be destroyed. This then leads to tooth loss.
What are the causes of gum disease?
Though there are a number of causes of gum disease, probably the most common one is Improper Dental Hygiene. Not brushing your teeth daily to remove dental plaque, nor regular professional dental cleanings results in plaque buildup (calculus or tartar) around the base of the tooth. This opens the door for bacteria to come in resulting in gingivitis and more serious gum disease.
What can be done about it?
The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. All it takes is improving your daily dental hygiene practices and more regular professional dental cleanings. When you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease that has not become too severe we recommend a treatment called "Root planing and scaling". This cleans between the gums and teeth all the way down to the roots. Planing means to "make a surface smooth" and Scaling means to "remove calculus from the teeth using instruments". This is something that can be done in our dental office. If the gum disease has become too severe we will refer you to a Periodontist - a doctor who specializes in gum disease and who is trained to utilize more advanced medical treatments including possible dental surgery.
Click here, to see a video about Periodontics.
Irina Rodriguez, D.D.S.
(Serving Ojai, Lake Casitas, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria)
117 Pirie Rd., Suite A
Ojai, CA 93023
Phone: (805) 646-3700 Emergency: (805) 415-4478