The Many Faces of Periodontal Disease

Teeth and Gum Damage from Smoking

Above are two distinctly different photos.  The picture to the left shows a 49 year old male with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 with a half pack day smoking history for 16 years. He brushes once a day and does not floss. He presented to our office with very obvious signs of periodontal disease including erythematous (red), edematous (inflamed) and bleeding gingiva (gums), calculus (tartar) build-up, long loose teeth, missing teeth among other signs.

To the right is a picture of a 27 year old female patient who is systemically healthy, does not smoke nor does she take any medications. She presented with “normal” looking teeth and gingiva. The teeth appear clean and healthy.  She brushes two times a day and flosses every night.  She has not experienced any typical symptoms associated with periodontal disease.

Interestingly, both patients have severe bone loss and active periodontal disease!  The patient to the left has a common chronic form of periodontal disease whereas the patient on the right has an aggressive form of the disease which is rare but arguably more difficult to stabilize.  After comprehensive periodontal therapy with Dr. Anderson both patients are now disease free! Now that they have reached oral health, they are on a 3-4 month maintenance cleaning  to maintain the results.

Regular visits to your dentist and periodontist are critical to identifying and treating periodontal disease as it can occur without typical signs and symptoms.

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