What is Peridontal Disease

Posted on July 31, 2017

Periodontal disease is a very common condition which affects the gums and periodontal structures in the mouth. There are different forms of periodontitis ranging from mild to severe. This disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene and for the most part is completely preventable.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

You may have periodontal disease if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Bad Bread
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gum lines
  • Loose teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Gums that are tender and/or bleed

What Causes Periodontitis?

Periodontitis usually develops from lack of brushing and flossing your teeth. However, there are certain factors that can make a person more prone to developing this disease. These include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Hormonal changes due to menopause or pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Taking medications that cause dry mouth
  • Other inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, crohn’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Health conditions that cause a weakened immune system such as HIV/AIDS or cancer.

Types of Periodontitis


Gingivitis occurs before periodontal disease sets in and refers to inflammation of the gum tissue. It is normally caused by inadequate home care of your teeth. You may notice symptoms of gingivitis in the form of bleeding gums when brushing or flossing. When plaque is not removed daily from your teeth, it will accumulate and harden over time turning into tartar. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove and it begins to collect bacteria, causing irritation along the gumline. Once tarter has built up on your teeth, you will not be able to remove it by yourself at home. This will have to be done by a dental professional. Inflammation from gingivitis can easily be reversed by practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular dental cleanings.

Chronic Periodontitis

Gingivitis that is left untreated can turn into chronic periodontitis. This is the most common form of periodontal disease. Plaque buildup due to poor oral hygiene will result in chronic inflammation of the periodontal tissue causing the gums to recede. If left untreated, periodontitis will lead to the loss of bone structure and eventual tooth loss.

Aggressive Periodontitis

Aggressive periodontitis is a rare form of periodontal disease that causes rapid progression of bone and tooth loss. This condition usually occurs in otherwise healthy individuals of a younger age and tends to run in families.

Periodontitis Caused by Systemic Disease

This type of periodontal disease is caused by an underlying medical condition, for example: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.

To learn more about the connection between perio disease and systemic diseases, click here.

Necrotising Periodontitis

Necrotizing periodontal disease occurs when the gum tissue, tooth ligaments, and supporting bone are killed off due to lack of blood supply. This generally occurs in people who have a suppressed immune system from having chemo due to cancer, having HIV/AIDS or even being malnourished.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

Scaling and Root Planing

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend some form of gum disease treatment. The first step is usually a conservative nonsurgical procedure called scaling and root planing. This is done by a dental hygienist, dentist, and periodontist. The treatment involves scraping the teeth to remove all plaque and tarter, and then smoothing the roots to help prevent bacteria from building up again. Local anesthetic is sometimes used to prevent discomfort during this appointment. In conjunction with this procedure, antibiotic therapy might also be recommended by your dentist. This could be in the form of a gel, pill, or oral mouthwash to help control bacteria.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery is a procedure where the gums are pulled back so the periodontist has direct access to the roots and bone supporting the tooth. Tartar is then scraped and cleaned out from below the gumline, and any bone defects are smoothed as well. This procedure IS done with anesthetics, so patients do not feel a thing! Once the procedure is complete, the gums will be placed back against the teeth and stitched into place.

Gum Graft

If you have exposed sensitive roots due to gum recession, gum tissue can be taken from the palate of your mouth and used to cover the exposed root. This procedure is called a gum tissue graft surgery and will help reduce tooth sensitivity, protect your roots from decay, and stop further gum recession and bone loss.

Bone Grafting

If you have severe bone loss due to periodontal disease, a bone graft may be recommended to prevent the loss of any teeth. During the procedure, an incision is made in your gum tissue to access the bone below it. Grafting material can then be added. This material is what will promote new bone growth.

Categories: Oral Health, Orthodontic Treatment
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