The Periodontal Implant Institute

Outcomes of Periodontal Disease

There are both dental and medical consequences to periodontal disease. This section covers these topics briefly. Please read below.

Dental Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is responsible for 75% of all adult tooth loss. When the gums and bone surrounding teeth are damaged by periodontal infection, there is less support for the teeth. As this support disappears, teeth become loose and can be lost. When your dentist recommends periodontal treatment, it is important to get started right away.
If the periodontal infection continues, one starts losing teeth, one at a time. These lost teeth will have to be replaced with dental work. The options include:

  • Bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Partial dentures
  • Full dentures

Dentures replace missing teeth. These are removable appliances that have to be removed every night. Many patients don’t understand the full consequences of wearing dentures. There can be many problems with dentures including:

  • Inability to eat certain foods
  • Lowered ability to feel and taste foods
  • Lisping or clacking when speaking
  • Developing caries (decay) on teeth that support the dentures.
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Unnatural looking teeth.
  • Self-consciousness and embarrassment
  • Looking old
  • Having to remove and soak the dentures at night
  • Your spouse seeing you without teeth at night

The Good News

In most cases the progress of periodontal infection can be stopped with prompt treatment. The gums and bone around your teeth can then be saved from further damage.

Medical Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Dr. Robert Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D. editor of the Journal of Periodontology said:
“People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don’t think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream.”

Periodontal disease is caused by infectious bacteria which get into the gums around your teeth. These bacteria can penetrate into the blood stream, then travel throughout your body, and affect other parts of your body. Bacteria that causes periodontal disease has been linked to a number of medical conditions. It is important to treat periodontal disease as quickly as possible to avoid the release of bacteria and inflammation into your bloodstream.

Heart Disease & Heart Attack

Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Stroke

Studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

Pre-Term Childbirth

Women with periodontal disease are 7-8 times more likely to give birth prematurely to a low birth-weight baby.

Diabetes

Periodontal infection can raise blood sugar in diabetic patients. Periodontal treatment often results in a reduced need for insulin.

Respiratory Disease

Periodontal infection in the mouth can be breathed in and increase the severity of such respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem

Periodontal disease is no longer thought to be just a dental problem. Researchers are finding many correlations between periodontal infection and serious medical problems.

Your Infection Can Be Transmitted

Research using DNA testing has found that 80% of all periodontal disease comes from a parent or spouse. Patients with a periodontal disease can pass their infection along to their loved ones.

Some Patients are At Higher Risk

Patients in certain higher risk categories (see below) should pay particular attention to any signs of periodontal disease.

Those patients having a personal or family history of:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Premature childbirth
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases

Those patients having higher risk lifestyles, including:

  • Chronic stress
  • Smoker
  • Sedentary and overweight
  • Frequent colds, flu, etc.

Higher Risk Patients

If you have been told you have periodontal infection (or some of its symptoms) it is vital that you seek evaluation and treatment.