Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, causes red, swollen gums and can
mean the connective tissue and bone that hold teeth in place may be destroyed. Periodontal
disease is the major cause of tooth loss.
Each tooth is embedded in the gum and attached by connective tissue to bone. Healthy
gums are pale, pink, smooth and firm, and form a peak or cone between adjacent teeth.
They surround your teeth like a turtleneck fits your neck, with just a narrow crevice
in between. In this crevice is where problems begin because it is teeming with bacteria,
which produce the sticky, soft, colorless substance known as plaque.
As plaque accumulates, bacteria release toxins that irritate the gums, triggering
an immune response that causes gums to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Plaque
can harden into tartar. The buildup of tartar worsens the condition, causing the
gums to pull away from teeth. Deeper pockets may form. Bacteria invade these pockets
and can infect and destroy the underlying connective tissue and bone, loosening
Gingivitis is a stage of periodontal disease in which the inflamed gums begin to
pull back from the teeth. No damage is done to the connective tissue and bone. Ordinary
gingivitis is the most common and least severe form. Gums are red, swollen and bleed
easily. People with gingivitis may have persistent bad breath. This stage is easily
Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which involves deep pockets between gums and
teeth. In severe cases, the connective tissue and bone are damaged. The most common
type is adult periodontitis and may start as early as the teen years, but symptoms
usually don't become noticeable until the mid-30s or later. Children also can get
periodontitis. More than 50 percent of adults have gingivitis and 30 percent have
periodontitis. Periodontal disease may contribute to heart disease, increase the
risk of premature births and worsen the condition of people with stroke, diabetes,
osteoporosis and respiratory infections. Research reveals that periodontal disease
may be a far more serious threat to your health than realized.
Not brushing and flossing or getting regular professional cleanings encourage plaque
and tartar formation. Even after you've developed gum disease, you can stop its
progression and reverse its symptoms by seeing us on a regular basis and practicing
good oral hygiene. By quitting smoking you can also decrease your risk of developing
Please answer the questions below to get a better understanding of your gum health:
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, we recommend that you visit
us as soon as possible for a thorough Periodontal examination.
- Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth?
- Are your gums red, swollen or tender?
- Do you have sores in your mouth?
- Are your gums receding? Have they pulled away from your teeth?
- Do your teeth appear longer than they have in the past?
- Are there spaces developing between your teeth?
- Do you suffer from bad breath?
- Do you have a constant bad taste in your mouth?
- Are your teeth more sensitive than usual?
- Are any of your teeth loose?
- Is there any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite?
Our patients with active Periodontal Disease are placed into our program of non-surgical
Periodontal Therapies. Pocket measurements are done at each visit, and the condition
of the gum tissue itself is assessed. Ultrasonic instrumentation, hand instrumentation,
and use of antibacterial medications are used at each visit.
Six weeks after completion of therapy, each pocket is remeasured. If all pockets
are 4 millimetres or less, the patient will return to maintenance at intervals that
are appropriate. In the small percentage of patients that do not respond to the
therapy available in our program, a referral to our Periodontist is then indicated.
This closely monitored program has been a key to success in the Periodontal care
of many of our patients