About Periodontal Disease

Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red. Periodontal diseases, or infections of the gums (gingiva), gradually destroy the bony support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line.

As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates. If left untreated, this may lead to tooth loss. These changes affect your ability to chew and speak, and degrade the appearance of your smile.

However, with periodontal disease, bleeding, redness, and swelling do not have to be present. Periodontal disease can be difficult to detect, because some of the typical symptoms may not be evident. Furthermore, pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. This disease damages the teeth, gum, and jawbone of more than 80 percent of Americans by age 35.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Gum recession, or gums pulling away from teeth
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Infection between the tooth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
  • Bite changes
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures

If you have noticed any of the above signs and symptoms, please give us a call. We accept all patients regardless of a diagnosis of periodontal disease.