More than 90% of Europeans suffer from various forms of gum disease. Starting at age 40, more teeth are lost due to gum conditions than tooth decay.

What is plaque? What is tartar?

A great amount of diverse bacteria permanently reside on our tooth surfaces and generate plaque (a soft film of deposits covering the teeth). When plaque is continually exposed to saliva, tartar is produced (cannot be removed by brushing!). This transformed layer, and bacteria induced toxins, irritate the gums and produce inflammation. Not all bacteria are actual pathogens. However, some are very harmful to the periodontal apparatus = periodontopathic germs.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque bacteria. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, an inflammation of the gums and the jawbone may be caused. Without treatment, this may result in the destabilization of teeth and eventual tooth-loss.

This disease may be categorized into two stages: Gingivitis and Periodontitis.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis represents the first stage of gum disease. It is an inflammation of the gums without pocket formation and bone resorption.
The gums are hypersensitive, reddish, and swollen. Gum bleeding may occur while brushing.
This early stage of gum disease can easily be resolved by means of a thorough professional plaque and tartar removal.

What is Periodontitis?

If plaque is not professionally removed, a case of gingivitis may turn into periodontitis. The inflammation then spreads to the entire periodontium; the gums separate and recede from the tooth structures, and plaque advances in-between the teeth and gums. At this point pockets are formed in-which plaque bacteria can freely multiply. Toxins are released into the tissues, which then result in the break down of the bone structure.

Aftereffects are swelling of the gums (turning red-blue), unpleasant mouth odor, bleeding of the gums, and eventual loss of teeth.

How Do I Know if I have a gum disease? What are the symptoms?

Do your gums bleed while brushing your teeth?
Are the gums red, swollen, or sensitive?
Do you experience permanent bad breath or bad taste?
Do your teeth appear longer than before?
Have your gums withdrawn?
Do you have sensitive and loose teeth?
Are there changes in the position of your teeth (gaps)?
Are there pus-filled pockets below the gum line?

If you answered “Yes“ to any of these questions, please come in for a dental check-up as soon as possible.

Can lost teeth due to periodontitis be replaced by bridges, implants, or dentures?

The remaining bone structure following the loss of teeth is usually insufficient to provide adequate stability for partial or complete dentures. A full denture in the lower jaw (or in the upper) would constantly loosen and create discomfort while chewing.

The absence of sufficient bone substance very often necessitates additional surgical measures during the insertion of implants.

If a tooth is lost due to periodontitis, the periodontium of the adjacent teeth is most likely weakened and unable to provide ample support for a bridge.

What are the other dangers with periodontitis?

Germs causing periodontitis (periodontopathic germs) are also responsible for severe systemic diseases, like: cerebral infarction, arteriosclerosis, heart and circulatory diseases.

Research indicates that an untreated gum disease increases the risk of heart and circulatory disease, low birth-weight premature infants, as well as the occurrence of diabetes.

Does smoking have an affect on gums and teeth?

Yes! Smoking negatively influences gums and teeth and may lead to gum disease (or even worsen its course). Tartar and plaque accumulate in the oral cavity of a smoker, giving a rise to the amount of bacteria, and in turn inhibiting the healing progress. Smokers develop gum inflammation faster than non-smokers.