What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) is an ongoing infection or inflammation in the gums and supporting structures surrounding your teeth. The cause of this disease is bacteria that gets into your gums. This infection starts destroying the bone which supports your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.

What are the consequences of leaving Periodontal Disease untreated?

When your gums and bone are damaged by periodontal inflammation or infection, there is less support for your teeth. As this support disappears and pockets form around the teeth, plaque and debris will accumulate causing bad breath, red, swollen and bleeding gums. Eventually the teeth will become loose and then can be lost due to unrestorable damage.

When periodontal disease causes breakdown of the gums, bacteria can then be released into the bloodstream. From there it travels to other parts of the body and can contribute to medical problems. Research has shown that patients with periodontal disease are more likely to have the medical problems:

Heart disease and Heart attack – 2.7 times higher risk.
Your Bacteria can be Transmitted – from parent to child or spouse to spouse.

Risk Factors include:

  • Chronic Stress
  • Smoker
  • Sedentary and Overweight
  • Frequent Colds, Flu, etc

Periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay can cause you further bone loss and more expense. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own teeth.

What are the symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Many times, there are no symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, you can have some of the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Bad breath
  • Deep pockets around the teeth
  • Spaces between the teeth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Receding gums around the teeth (longer looking teeth)

 

Is it normal for my gums to bleed when I brush my teeth?

Bleeding gums are one of the signs of gum disease. Think of gum tissue as the skin on your hand. If your hands bled every time you washed them, you would know something was wrong. There are a number of other warning signs of gum disease.

When should I see a Periodontist?

If you value your oral and overall health, anytime is a good time to see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation. Sometimes the only way to detect a periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation. Below is a list of reasons/times when you should consult a periodontist:

Are you pregnant?

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. In addition, about half of women experience “pregnancy gingivitis.” However, women who have good oral hygiene and have no gingivitis before pregnancy are very unlikely to experience this condition.


If you have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.

If you have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis. Ongoing research is showing that periodontal disease may be linked to these conditions. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body. Healthy gums may lead to a healthier body.
If you feel that your teeth are too short or that your smile is too “gummy.” Or, if you are missing one or more of your teeth and are interested in a long-lasting replacement option.

If you are not satisfied with your current tooth replacement option, such as a bridge or dentures, and may be interested in dental implants. If you have a sore or irritation in your mouth that does not get better within two weeks.