EASTPOINTE | GROSSE POINTE | ST. CLAIR SHORES area periodontist patrick sweeney, dds, ms.
Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line. When periodontal disease affects the bone and supporting tissue, it is termed periodontitis and is characterized by the formation of pockets or spaces between the teeth and gums which may progress and cause chronic periodontal destruction leading to the loosening or loss of teeth.
However, don’t be fooled. With periodontal disease, bleeding, redness, and swelling do not have to be present. Further, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80 percent of Americans by age 45.
For a brief narrated overview of the periodontics, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about periodontics.