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Dr. Kenneth Klonsky
Oral Surgery/Implants/Periodontist

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease and periodontitis, is a progressive disease that may result in tooth loss if left untreated.  Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingiva (gum), which surrounds and supports the teeth.  The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque, which is an ongoing bacterial infection.

The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue and deep pockets that form between the teeth and the gums. If treated promptly by a periodontist, the effects of mild inflammation are completely reversible. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone, promoting tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream. This may cause damage in other areas of the body. The destruction of gum and bone from periodontal disease is often not correctable without surgical treatment, and treatment is not always completely successful in restoring all lost gum and bone.

Overview:

Common Causes of Gum Disease

There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases, the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures.

Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:

  • Poor dental hygiene

  • Tobacco use

  • Genetic predisposition – Despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines, as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. 

  • Pregnancy and menopause –Hormonal changes experienced by the body can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive, rendering them more susceptible to gum disease.

  • Grinding teeth – The clenching or grinding of the teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. 

  • Medication – Many drugs, including oral contraceptive pills, heart medicines, anti-depressants, and steroids, affect the overall condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms, such as pain. This is why regular dental checkups are extremely important. Below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, Dr. Klonsky's advice should be sought as soon as possible:

  • Unexplained bleeding

  • Pain, redness or swelling

  • Longer-looking teeth

  • Bad breath

  • Loose teeth/change in bite pattern

  • Pus

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments Dr. Klonsky may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone.  A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.

In the case of missing gum, Dr. Klonsky is able to perform tissue grafts to promote natural tissue regeneration and insert dental implants if a tooth or several teeth are missing.  Where gum recession causes a “toothy” looking smile, Dr. Klonsky can recontour the gum to create an even and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Below are links discussing, in more detail, some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:

Dr. Klonsky is a highly skilled dental health professional who can diagnose and treat commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity. Call us at (212)726-0917 or email us to have your questions and concerns answered.

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