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Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal (Gum) Disease Overview

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys bone and gum tissues that support the teeth. Periodontal disease affects nearly 75% of Americans and is the major cause of adult tooth loss.

Teeth are supported by the gums, or gingiva and bone. A tooth's root is anchored to the bone within its socket by fibers called periodontal ligaments. The gums do not attach to the teeth as firmly as one might think. A shallow, V-shaped gap called a sulcus exists between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease affects this gap and more. Eventually, in periodontal disease, the tissues supporting the tooth break down. If only the superficial gums are involved in this breakdown, the disease is referred to as gingivitis. If it is more advanced and involves the connecting tissues and bone, then it is called periodontitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/27/2014
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