Gum Disease

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection, resulting in the progressive destruction of the tissue and bone supporting the teeth. If not properly treated, this disease can severely affect your oral health.

The following factors can increase your risk for periodontal disease:

  • Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
  • Systemic Diseases – diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, blood cell disorders, HIV infections and AIDS
  • Medications – steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure drugs and immunosuppressant therapy drugs
  • Puberty, Pregnancy and Oral Contraceptives that change hormone levels
  • Passing Saliva – from parents to children and between couples
  • Dental Bridges that no longer fit properly, crooked and/or crowded teeth or defective fillings and crowns holding plaque in place
  • Genetics

Certain disease-producing bacteria in plaque or biofilm can cause irritation and inflammation of your gums. Plaque or biofilm, which hardens is called calculus or tartar and is impossible to remove with only your regular brushing and flossing. The bacteria live in and around the calculus and can start to invade the gum tissue. The pocket which forms where your gum and tooth meet tends to get deeper when periodontal disease is present. If the bacteria are not thoroughly cleaned out of the deepening pockets, they will keep invading the gums and bone, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Routine dental cleaning and checkups can significantly reduce your risks of periodontal disease.

Warning Signs

  • Your gums bleeding when you floss
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or taste
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or separating teeth


Initial periodontal therapy for gum disease typically involves a specialized cleaning and anesthetic is commonly administered to ensure your comfort.  This procedure involves removing the colonies of disease producing bacteria on both the tooth and root surfaces. Periodontal treatment is designed to help gum tissue reattach to the tooth, shrinking the pocket depth and making the pockets more manageable to care for. After initial periodontal therapy, meticulous home care and maintenance is required to keep the disease under control.  In the beginning, more frequent cleanings and checkups are recommended to keep your gums and teeth healthy while also reducing the risk of the disease process returning.