Dental Disease Overview

Periodontal Disease

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Periodontitis can invade the jawbone and ligaments, increasing the likelihood of tooth loss.

Most of us have first-hand knowledge of cavities, but less well known -- and more devastating -- is what can happen when your gums succumb to disease. Periodontal (literally meaning around the tooth) disease can take several forms.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue, or gingiva, caused by plaque and tartar. The deposits of plaque and calculus in the pocket irritate the surrounding gum tissue, causing it to swell and become tender.

Gingivitis sometimes goes undetected. The inflamed tissue can bleed easily, even with minor pressure from a toothbrush, but the condition does not usually cause pain or other noticeable symptoms. That's why it's so dangerous: Unchecked, it can lead to far more serious problems.

Periodontitis. Unchecked gingivitis can lead to a very serious periodontal disease called periodontitis. The deposits of plaque move deeper into the space between the teeth and gums, and the inflammation is often accompanied by gum recession and damage to the soft and hard tissues. When these underlying structures eventually succumb, tooth loss becomes a very real possibility.

In its advanced stages, periodontitis can invade the jawbone and ligaments. At this point, even the best oral hygiene won't be enough: If you want to save your teeth, you'll need to see a qualified dentist or, probably, a periodontist.

Most people don't know that excessive stress can cause damage to your jaw and teeth. Go to the next page to learn how stress-related disorders affect your oral health.

Your teeth need lots of care and attention to ensure life-long good oral health. Visit the links below for more information about protecting and caring for your teeth.

  • Good oral hygine is important for oral health as well as overall health. In How Oral Hygiene Works, learn how to best take care of your pearly whites. 
  • Do you wish your teeth had just a bit more sparkle to them? How Tooth Whitening Works takes a look at procedures you can undergo to brighten and whiten your teeth.
  • When you have an ache in your teeth, getting rid of it is the only thought in your head. In How to Relieve a Tooth Ache, find out how to deal with dental distress.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.