Gum Disease Risk Assessment Test

Above is a link for a risk assessment test to see how at risk you are for gum disease.

There are two main types of gum disease:

Gingivitis- Inflammation of the gingival tissue (gums only) due to active infection

* Main Cause: Inadequate oral hygiene (not flossing or brushing daily)

* Other Contributing Factors: Because gingivitis is a result of an infection in soft tissue, auto-immune disorders and any other systemic situation that affects the immune system can cause an increase of the symptoms listed below. Some examples of these other contributing factors are: diabetes and other systemic diseases, high stress levels, smoking, aging, hormonal fluctuations, HIV, pregnancy, substance abuse including alcohol, and some medications as well.

* Symptoms: Just like any form of inflammation in the body, gingivitis will present itself with red tissue, swelling  may be present along with bleeding and irritation or sensitivity. These symptoms are just as if you had a splinter in your hand; your body knows when something is where it should not be, this includes bacteria and food particles.

* Treatment: Gingivitis is completely reversible; once the irritant is removed by regular flossing and brushing or a complete dental cleaning, the inflammation should subside. (Just like removing a splinter from your hand) Because the infection is located only in the gums, the tissue will heal rather quickly.

Periodontitis-  When gingivitis is left untreated, the infection can progress in the bone and tissue surrounding the teeth. This is different than gingivitis because the chronic inflammation may destroy the bone and cause loss of teeth. Any bone loss is not reversible once the irritant is removed.

There are different types of Periodontitis:

* Aggressive Periodontitis: Occurs in patients who appear to be healthy clinically. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction, and can sometimes be very localized to one or two areas of the mouth.

*  Chronic Periodontitis:  Results in progressive bone loss and loss of supporting tissue. This is the most common form of periodontitis and is characterized by gum pocket formation and/or recession of the gums.  It is prevalent in adults over the age of 30, but can occur at any age. Attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.

* Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Disease: Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis. Usually Periodontal disease will begin at a young age or around the time of the systemic diagnosis.

* Necrotizing Periodontal Disease: This form of the infection is characterized by necrosis of the gums, supporting tissues and the bone around the teeth. These scenarios are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and suppressed immune systems.

If you feel like any of these symptoms may apply to you please call our office to schedule an appointment. If you are not sure, or you are curious about your potential risk of developing gum disease please click the link above to take a quick risk assessment test.

Keep in mind your risk of gum disease goes up if you use tobacco products, do not receive regular dental cleanings or check-ups, or if you have any family members whom may have suffered from gum disease.

Cherise Britt RDH


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