The word periodontal means "around the tooth." Periodontal diseases, also called gum diseases, are serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth. Cavities in the tooth affect only the tooth. Periodontal disease affects the bones around the tooth, gums, coverings of the roots of the teeth and membrane of the tooth.
A dentist specializing in periodontal disease is called a periodontist.
The importance of early diagnosis
If the inflammation is left untreated, the disease will continue and the underlying bones around the teeth will dissolve and will no longer be able to hold the teeth in place.
- Chronic inflammation, resulting from a periodontal disease, is responsible for 70 percent of all adult tooth losses.
- It affects 75 percent of people at some point in their lives.
How periodontal disease affects children and adults
- About 66 percent of young adults have periodontal disease.
- About 50 percent of children have periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.