Periodontal disease aka gum disease

Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. Symptoms may include bad breath, loose teeth and bleeding, swollen gums. The good news is, your dentist can help you strengthen your gums with simple treatments, like periodontal cleaning.

What is periodontal disease?

How to identify and proactively treat periodontal disease

Periodontal disease — also called gum disease — refers to inflammation and infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Poor oral hygiene can result in gum disease. But some people are more prone to this condition than others are, even with proper brushing and flossing.

Thankfully, the early stage of gum disease, also called gingivitis, is reversible. To prevent gum disease from settling into a permanent case of periodontal disease, it’s important to regularly visit your local Celebrate Dental & Braces dentist to keep your smile healthy and clean.

The stages of gum disease

1. Healthy gums

Your gums, jaw and periodontal ligament hold your teeth together firmly, and there is little-to-no buildup of plaque or tartar.

2. Gingivitis

Bacteria from plaque can irritate your gums, causing them to become red, sensitive and prone to bleeding. Plaque needs to be cleaned to prevent tartar formation, and to stop gum disease from becoming a permanent condition.

3. Periodontitis

As plaque and tartar continue to build up along the gum line, the gum and bone recede in response. This bone loss is not reversible, but it can be stopped before it worsens.

4. Advanced periodontitis

The bone and tissue damage has progressed so that it can no longer hold the teeth properly in place. Teeth can become loose, fall out or need to be removed professionally.

Periodontal disease symptoms

The more advanced stage of gum disease, periodontal disease, is not reversible and can lead to tooth loss. It’s important to get immediate dental support to recover the health of your teeth and gums.

The good news is, your Celebrate Dental team can design a care plan to restore your oral health.

Persistent bad breath

Reddish or purplish gums

Pain while chewing

Bleeding or sore gums

Receding gum line

Changes in bite/fit in dentures

Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums

Specialized dental care for periodontal disease

If you’re experiencing any periodontal disease symptoms, Celebrate Dental is here for you. Book an appointment with your local periodontist today.

Periodontal disease (periodontitis) treatment options

Treat for early-stage gum disease (gingivitis) treatment options

Your Celebrate Dental dentist will work with you to determine the best care plan for you and your smile. Discover possible periodontal disease treatment options below.
Dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It’s relatively easy to treat and can usually be controlled with a cleaning from your Celebrate Dental care team.

Treatment for periodontitis

Your Celebrate Dental dentist will work with you to determine the best care plan for you and your smile. Discover possible periodontal disease treatment options below.
If things progress beyond gingivitis, it can affect the bone supporting your teeth, also known as periodontitis. The first step to periodontal disease treatment usually involves scaling and root planing. This treatment may be done over more than one visit, depending on your personal needs.

Scaling: First, your dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar with specialized instruments below the gum line and disinfects the area using medication.

Root planing: Then, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed, or “planed”, to promote the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the roots of your teeth. To enhance healing and minimize any discomfort, it’s possible that your dentist may recommend a prescription for you.

Treatment for advanced periodontitis

Your Celebrate Dental dentist will work with you to determine the best care plan for you and your smile. Discover possible periodontal disease treatment options below.
Sometimes, scaling and root planing isn’t enough to completely treat the gum disease. If your periodontal pockets don’t fully heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be the best next step.

Surgery can help remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. Your dentist will advise you of the stage of gum disease and potential outcomes during consult.

Pocket reduction surgery

People with moderate to advanced gum disease may need pocket reduction surgery (also called osseous surgery). The goal is to remove plaque and tartar that are so deep under the gums that your hygienist can’t reach it. During this procedure, a periodontist makes an incision (cut) in your gums and creates a flap. This allows them to temporarily move your gums back from your teeth roots.

Next, they’ll clean the plaque, tartar and bacteria from your teeth roots and smooth out any rough areas. Once complete, they’ll reposition your gums and close the incision with stitches.

Oftentimes, periodontists combine pocket reduction surgery with other regenerative procedures, such as bone grafting, gum grafting or guided tissue regeneration.

Bone grafting

Your periodontist may use a dental bone graft to replace bone that you’ve lost to gum disease. Once they clean the infection out, they’ll place bone grafting material into the areas where the bone has eroded. This material acts as scaffolding or a space-holder, giving your body time to regenerate its own bone over time.

Gum grafting

If you’ve lost gum tissue to periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend gum graft surgery, also called tissue grafting. This procedure covers exposed teeth roots and adds thickness to your gum line.

During this procedure, a periodontist will add tissue to the areas of gum recession. This tissue may come from the roof of your mouth, or your provider may purchase it from a licensed bone and tissue bank.

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Periodontal disease (periodontitis) treatment FAQs

What causes gum disease?

While anyone can get gum disease, your risk of getting it increases in certain instances, including:

  • Not regularly brushing and flossing your teeth and gums
  • Smoking, chewing tobacco, vaping, and dipping
  • High white blood cell count caused by diseases such as HIV, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes
  • Your age (chances increase after age 65)
  • Medications
  • Birth control pills or pregnancy and the resulting hormone changes
  • Genetics

How do dental professionals identify periodontal disease (periodontitis)?

Using a periodontal probe, your dentist or hygienist can gently measure how deep the pockets around each of your teeth are. Healthy teeth have a pocket depth of 3 millimeters or less—so the lower the number, the better your health. As gum disease grows in severity, the pocket becomes deeper, giving bacteria even more access to your teeth, tissues, gums and jaw.

If your oral health specialist suspects periodontitis is setting in, they may recommend an X-ray. Dental X-rays show the amount of bone supporting your teeth at any given time. If bone density is reduced in either width or length, this could be a sign that periodontal disease is taking effect.

Are there other diseases linked to gum disease?

People with heart disease and diabetes are more likely to experience gum disease, as are those who have had a stroke or deal with high amounts of stress. Unfortunately, science has not yet identified the link between these diseases and gum disease, so it’s important to speak with your dentist about any long-term health issues you may have.

How do you prevent periodontitis?

An estimated 70% of people over age 65 have some form of gum disease. Potentially, any patient with a past history of periodontitis can develop recurrent periodontitis if adequate oral hygiene is not maintained.

Here are some simple things you can do to help your gums heal and prevent future problems:

Brush your teeth 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time. Use a power toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps keep teeth strong.

Clean your teeth daily to remove plaque and bits of food from between your teeth. If your gums have loosened, it may be best to use smaller brushes, picks, wider types of floss, or a power flosser to clean between your teeth.

Your dentist may also recommend regularly using a specific mouth rinse.

Look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on your dental care products. The ADA Seal means these products have met ADA standards for safety and effectiveness.

How do you ensure periodontitis stays away?

If you suspect periodontitis, it’s likely that you’ll need to see your Celebrate Dental dentist more often than normal. Your gum pockets, which is the space between your teeth and gums, may make it harder for you to clean the plaque off your teeth. Meaning, your oral health could likely benefit from periodontal treatment, also known as dental deep cleaning. Your dentist will talk to you about a treatment plan that works best for you.

Over time, fewer appointments may be necessary. Once the health of your gums is restored, your dentist will determine a maintenance schedule based on your clinical evaluations.

An important part of your care plan will incorporate periodontal cleanings, also known as dental deep cleanings. This is a more extensive cleaning process than the standard to ensure your gums stay healthy. With personalized periodontal maintenance, the amount of plaque bacteria is lowered, calming inflammation and allowing your pockets to shrink. This will lead to healthier gums and a refreshed smile.

We also recommend taking any medication as prescribed by your dentist. They may prescribe you rinses and gels to manage inflammation or discomfort. Your teeth may feel sensitive after treatment, and the medication can help you return to your regular daily activities. Additionally, your periodontist may recommend a special toothpaste or other treatments to decrease your tooth sensitivity.

Although you may experience discomfort and be tempted to avoid cleaning the treated areas, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions for at-home care to support the health of your teeth and gums.

What’s the outlook for people with periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease isn’t life-threatening. But it can lead to other health conditions that may require treatment, especially if the infection spreads to other areas of your body.

Gum disease isn’t curable. But it’s manageable with proper treatment. If you have gum disease, early detection and treatment can help you better manage your oral health.

When should I see a dentist?

If you develop bleeding, tender or swollen gums, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Early detection is key. If you need more than a routine dental cleaning, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist for treatment.

What questions should I ask my periodontist?

If you have gum disease, here are a few questions you may want to ask your periodontist:

  • What stage gum disease do I have?
  • Will I need surgical or nonsurgical treatment?
  • Do you offer sedation dentistry options?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • When can I go back to work or school?
  • How often do I need dental cleanings?

Medical references and resources

Periodontal (Gum) Disease | National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Periodontitis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic –

Periodontal Disease | Oral Health Conditions | Division of Oral Health | CDC –

Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment –

Gum Disease Information – American Academy of Periodontology –

Periodontitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments –

Periodontal disease – Wikipedia –

Periodontal Disease – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf –

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