What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a chronic infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.  It is caused by bacterial plaque that attaches to teeth and eats away at the gums. If plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it hardens into a hard substance called tartar. Bacteria in plaque tartar release toxins that irritate the gums and cause a breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth.
Periodontal pockets are created at the gum line, and bacteria breed rapidly in the warm, wet, dark environment. Overtime bacteria grow and form bigger and deeper pockets. Eventually, if left untreated, periodontal disease destroys the bone that holds the tooth in place, causing the tooth to loosen or fall out.
There are warning signs that indicate evidence of periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Gums pulling away or receding from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath

If you notice any of these symptoms, call me, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a general and restorative dentist in Pella, IA. Untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious overall health problems, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s. If you are pregnant, it can lead to low birth weight or preterm delivery.  Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults, as well.
I believe in providing comfortable and quality care to all my patients.  Your teeth and your health are my main concerns.  To schedule an appointment at my Pella, IA dentist office, call (641)628-1121.