The main cause of periodontal disease (gum disease) is plaque, a colorless, sticky film that lingers in the mouth and constantly attacks the teeth and its supporting tissues. The word “periodontal” literally means, “surrounding teeth.” Bacteria produce toxins that cause breakdown of the supporting tissues surrounding the teeth. In early stages of gum disease, red, swollen, and bleeding gums are present and this is called gingivitis, which is generally reversible. However, if left untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. At this stage, gums begin separating from the teeth and forming pockets that become infected. As the disease progresses, more gum tissue and bone are lost and the pockets deepen. Generally, the more severe the disease the deeper the depth of the pocket. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and have to be removed.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose teeth
- Any changes in the way your teeth fit together
Most patients with periodontal disease are unaware of having it. This is why it is very important to have regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations. Each patient is assigned a customized treatment regimen that is dependent upon the type of disease and how far it has progressed. After initial therapy, all our patients are placed on specialized periodontal maintenance recalls that is specific to their individual needs.