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Tom C. Sexton, Tallahassee FL Pediatric Dentist, Thomasville GA Orthodontist Pediatric Dentist
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  Gum Disease
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What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the teeth, gums and the bone that surrounds the teeth. Most often Gum Disease starts when plaque and tarter not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. The bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection in the gums (gingiva) called Gingivitis. Left untreated, the infection spreads to the tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place, a condition called Periodontitis.

gum disease x-ray
healthy x-ray
This patient has Periodontitis. Notice the bone deterioration and uneven level of bone.
Healthy gums and bone.

Most patients diagnosed with Periodontal disease (gum and jaw bone disease) are adults. However, children and adolescents can also develop periodontitis. If gum disease is recognized in a young patient who is otherwise healthy, the condition is called Early Onset Periodontitis or (E.O.P.).

2 forms of Early Onset Periodontitis seen in children are Pre-pubertal and Juvenile:
Pre-pubertal periodontitis

Pre-pubertal periodontitis typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 10 years old. Signs of this disease include

  • swollen and puffy gums
  • rapid bone loss
  • loose teeth
  • early tooth loss.

Symptoms may be generalized or localized to one specific area.

The generalized form of this disease is commonly associated with other systemic diseases, ear infections and upper respiratory infections. A defect in the immune system plays a major role in the destruction of the tissue. Several types of bacteria have been isolated in patients with this disease. This form does not typically respond to antibiotic therapy and will continue to progress quickly. This leads to early loss of the primary and permanent teeth. Early extractions of the primary teeth may be recommended to prevent infections of the permanent teeth.

The localized form of this disease may be responsive to thorough professional cleaning, meticulous oral hygiene, and antibiotic therapy.

Juvenile periodontitis

Juvenile periodontitis typically occurs in the pre-teen to late teen years. This disease occurs with little or no plaque and inflammation. Juvenile periodontitis is connected to a defect in the immune system and has a genetic component. Typically, the front teeth and the six-year molars are the most frequently affected teeth. Rapid and severe bone loss around these teeth may occur. Dr. Sexton will determine if deep cleaning and specific antibiotic therapy may be helpful.

© Copyright 2003 - Dental WebSmith, Inc., Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Florida), and Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Georgia). All rights reserved. Disclaimer: The information provided within is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.