What is Gum Disease?

Approximately 75% of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease, known by many as gum disease. Since gum disease is usually painless, it often goes undetected and, therefore, untreated until teeth begin to be lost. Periodontics includes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. Gum disease destroys the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth and implants and sometimes can contribute to mouth pain, bad breath, an unattractive smile, and even the loss of teeth and implants. In addition, gum disease is a serious risk factor in diabetes, premature births, and heart disease.

Unfortunately, even with the most diligent self-care, genetically-susceptible people can still develop some form of gum disease. Once the disease begins, professional care by a gum disease specialist is essential to prevent its progression.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums that gradually destroy the bone that supports your teeth, ultimately leading to tooth loss. Recently, it has been learned that periodontal disease can affect your overall health. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. If plaque is not removed from the tooth surface, it hardens into a substance known as tartar or calculus. As the disease progresses, the gum tissue loses its adherence to the teeth, forming pockets that accumulate more plaque and making its removal more difficult. In some types of gum disease, plaque will cause the gums to turn red, swell, and bleed (which can eventually lead to bone loss). In other types of the disease, no visible changes occur. In either instance, pain is not a common finding.


Peri-implant disease mimics what is described above in terms of periodontal disease around teeth, ultimately resulting in the loss of the implant. In certain cases of peri-implant disease, the bacteria induces advanced bone loss. A sample of the bacteria is taken from around the implant by Dr. Eskow to identify the specific bacteria in order to determine the appropriate antibiotic to use as part of the treatment protocol.

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