607-272-7200
402 Third Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

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. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed. In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, and all infections are cause for concernince. Since July 1998 mounting evidence has linked periodontal disease with a higher risk for developing heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, preterm births and respiratory disease. For more information on periodontal disease you may go to the American Academy of Periodontology at: www.perio.org/consumer

Call our Ithaca dental office today to reserve your consultation, checkup, or second-opinion visit with Dr. Fey. Our Ithaca dental office is conveniently located, and we serve patients of all ages and from all walks of life. We’re changing the face ofdentistry with a different level of care!

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