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Therapy Why a Periodontist? Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. It begins with plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that forms on the teeth and is removed by regular brushing and flossing. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Not only is periodontal disease the number one reason for tooth loss, recent studies indicate that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases. Researchers have determined that inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect a personís systemic health. We know that smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease four- to seven-fold.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and donít know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. As it advances, periodontal disease may be indicated by any one or more of these symptoms.

• Bleeding gums: Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
• Loose teeth: Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
• New spacing between teeth: If you detect new spaces between your teeth, you may be experiencing bone loss in your jaw.
• Persistent bad breath: Bad breath can be caused by bacteria in the mouth.
• Pus around the teeth and gums: Pus is a sign that there is an infection present.
• Receding gums: A receding gum means loss of gum around a tooth.
• Red and puffy gums: Healthy gums should not be red or swollen.
• Tenderness or Discomfort: Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.


Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and associated toxins irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis
The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.
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