Gum Disease


Gingivitis (“inflammation of the gum tissue”) is a term used to describe non-destructive gum disease. The most common form of gingivitis is in response to bacterial plaque adherent to tooth surfaces, termed plaque-induced gingivitis, and is the most common form of periodontal disease. In the absence of treatment, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is a destructive form of periodontal disease. While in some sites or individuals, gingivitis never progresses to periodontitis, data indicates that periodontitis is always preceded by gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis are somewhat non-specific and manifest in the gum tissue as the classic signs of inflammation: Swollen gums, Bright red or purple gums and Gums that are tender or painful to the touch.

Periodontitis is a set of inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium, i.e., the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontitis involves progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth, and if left untreated, can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth. Periodontitis is caused by microorganisms that adhere to and grow on the tooth’s surfaces, along with an overly aggressive immune response against these microorganisms. A diagnosis of periodontitis is established by inspecting the soft gum tissues around the teeth with a probe (i.e. a clinical exam) and by evaluating the patient’s x-ray films (i.e. a radiographic exam), to determine the amount of bone loss around the teeth.

In this animation You see a healthy tooth at first. When Plaque builds up, gum and bone may begin to recede. Sometimes the gum recedes with the bone and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way the tooth may become mobile.

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