Terms You Need To Know!

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

You may occasionally hear unfamiliar dental terms that relate to periodontal (gum) disease. I felt it would be helpful to provide explanations of various terms along with their sequence in the development of periodontal disease.

Dental Plaque – is a sticky film that forms on the teeth. Dental plaque is an accumulation of bacteria and what causes periodontal disease. If plaque is not removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into calculus.

Calculus – is dental plaque that hardens and cannot be removed by brushing or flossing, only by a dental professional using specific tools. Also referred to as tartar, calculus is typically rough and porous.

Gingivitis – is the initial stage of periodontal disease. When the bacteria in dental plaque is not removed on a daily basis, gingivitis will cause the gum tissue to turn red, sore and bleed easily.

Periodontal Pockets – are created by toxins in plaque that attack the gum tissues below the gum line. As the gums pull away from the teeth, a pocket forms, which fills with plaque and infection. Eventually, the bone and connecting tissues around the tooth can become so damaged that the tooth will loosen and require extraction.

Root Scaling & Planing – is a non-surgical procedure that removes plaque and calculus from periodontal pockets and around tooth roots to promote healing.

Periodontitis – is the stage of periodontal disease that causes inflammation in supporting tissues of teeth as well as bone loss. Periodontitis is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Research has shown this bacteria can contribute to inflammation elsewhere in the body, resulting in severe health risks.

When caught early, time and expense in treatment is far less than trying to combat periodontal disease in latter stages. If you suspect you have gum disease, please contact us (828) 274-9440 promptly for an examination.

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