What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a disease of the bone and ligaments in the mouth.  Far worse than a gum infection like gingivitis, periodontal disease is a chronic condition that permanently destroys the bone that hold your teeth in place.


The root cause of periodontal disease is bacteria.  In its soft plaque state, live bacteria damage the tissue and bone by the toxins they emit and your own body trying to fight off the infection.  That’s right, your body sends out cells specifically designed to ward off germs, but in the process bone and tissue in the affected area are permanently damaged.  Smoking is also one of the worst things a person can do if they want to maintain a healthy smile.  The chemicals and heat from cigarettes block off circulation and essentially prevent your mouth from healing.


This disease is a little sneaky because most people don’t feel symptoms in the early stages.  As bacteria start infecting the tissue, you might see some bleeding or have bad tastes now and then.  As the disease progresses, gums will start pulling away from the teeth and periodontal pockets form.  You many notice teeth starting to look longer, darker and crooked as they shift.  We can see periodontal disease on x-rays of your teeth and by taking careful measurements of the bone around your teeth.


Gingivitis – Inflammation is isolated to the gums.  It can be reversed.

Periodontitis – Pockets form and bone loss begins.

Advanced Periodontitis – Teeth are moving and may need to be extracted.


Early diagnosis and treatment is key to any medical condition.  Your dental team will help you come up with short and long term goals to treat you.  Scaling and root planing, otherwise know as “deep cleanings,” will help eliminate the disease causing tartar and toxins.  Frequent visits with the hygienist will ensure you are staying ahead of reinfection.  Although the bone will never grow back around your teeth like you once had, we can help isolate and remove the active infection that started this whole process.  Even if some teeth have to be removed in order to save the rest, we have many options for tooth replacement.

If you found this article because you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, we hope it helps you understand the condition better.  No matter what stage a person finds themselves in, our office is ready to assist you with all of your dental needs.  No periodontal case is too complicated and we are experts at dealing with these types of problems.  The first and most important step in creating a healthier you is making that phone call for a consultation and periodontal screening.