Dr. Bob Merrill
112 S. Stone St.
Augusta, WI 54722
You know that cavities can result in the loss of natural teeth.
But did you know that periodontal disease is the number one
cause of tooth loss in adults? If you are not receiving regular
dental and periodontal examinations, you could be totally
unaware that your gums and bone surrounding the teeth are
being seriously compromised. Chances are that you, or a family
member has at least the early signs of periodontal disease.
Over 50% of adults over the age of 35 have some form of gum
disease, and 75% of all adults will have periodontal disease
at some time in their lives. There are several kinds of periodontal
disease, and they are often painless. Many times, patients
don't come to the dentist until their teeth are loose, and
by then it is often too late! At this clinic, we do a periodontal
screening at each examination, and when necessary, we do a
complete periodontal examination.
Signs of Periodontal disease:
Gums that bleed when you brush them (no,
this ISN'T normal!)
Sore, swollen, red gums
A change in your bite
Chronic bad breath, or bad taste
Pus between your teeth and gums when
you press on them with your finger.
What causes periodontal disease?
1.) Bacteria normally present in the human mouth are not a
problem to us as long as they are prevented from getting together
in large colonies and from producing plaque. Plaque is a sticky
substance that allows colonies of bacteria to stick to your
teeth. There they use the foods that you eat to make acid
(which causes dental cavities) and other toxins (poisons)
which are harmful to the gum tissue and supporting bone.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue clean the big broad surfaces
of the teeth, but cannot clean the area between the teeth,
or below the gum line. These are the areas where bacteria
can do its dirty work, totally undisturbed - UNLESS YOU BRUSH
AND FLOSS THESE SPOTS.
2.) Oral conditions and habits - defective
fillings, poor-fitting crowns or bridges, crowded, crooked
teeth, ill-fitting partial dentures, and habits like grinding
or clenching your teeth.
3.) Physical and chemical irritants - packing
food between the teeth, smoking or chewing tobacco, excessive
4.) Certain Medications - anti-epilepsy
drugs, cancer-therapy drugs, and any medications that can
make the mouth drier than normal can affect the gums.
5.) Pregnancy or oral contraceptives -
these may affect hormone balance and cause the gum tissue
to be more sensitive to irritants.
Stages of periodontal
1.) Healthy gingiva (gums):
Gums are tight to the tooth, uniform pink in color; pocket
depth (with the probe) is 0-2 mm (millimeters); gums do not
bleed when brushing; pink or coral pink color (normal variations
in color depend on race and complexion); firm, resilient tissues;
"orange-peel' texture (known as stippling); shape that follows
the contour of the teeth and forms a scalloped edge; no areas
of redness, swelling or inflammation; no bleeding during daily
plaque removal; no discomfort
Same patient 2 weeks later
after proper oral hygiene - we also bleached the dark
This occurs due to inadequate brushing and flossing . Toxins
in the plaque cause the tissue to swell, become irritated
and red, and to bleed easily. The bone surrounding the teeth
is still intact, and this is a SOFT TISSUE condition only.
The effects of gingivitis can be reversed with a professional
cleaning and good brushing and flossing. Pocket depths are
Each color bar on the probe is 3 millimeters. The above pocket
is 6 millimeters deep.
The bacteria colonies are well-established
under the gumline and between the teeth The gums can no longer
attach to the tooth where they used to due to the mass of
bacterial plaque. Bone destruction occurs due to the inflammation
and infection below the gum line. As the gums detach from
the teeth, the bacteria goes even deeper into the pockets
formed.0 The pocket depth now goes beyond 3 mm. Tooth roots
become exposed, and these areas become sensitive to temperature
and to root decay.
The structures supporting the tooth continue to be destroyed.
In this example, there is almost no bone support for the teeth.
Teeth are loose, and may fall out or need to be extracted.
Adult gum disease
is usually not painful. It can progress slowly. You may not
even be aware of it until the advanced stages, when the tooth
is in danger of being lost. Check your gums thoroughly and
regularly. It is also important to go for regular checkups
(at an interval schedule determined through collaboration
with your oral health professional, based on your own personal
needs). Your dentist or dental hygienist can detect the early
stages of gum disease, when it is the easiest to treat.
What can I do to prevent
Periodontal disease is an IN-BETWEEN-The-TEETH disease.
If you want to prevent periodontal disease,
you need to FLOSS and BRUSH
below the gum line around each of your teeth. See home
75-80% of Americans will get
gum disease. You can avoid
being among them by good home care and regular dental visits.
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