What Is Periodontal Disease and What Should You Do When You Are Diagnosed with It?

What Is Periodontal Disease and What Should You Do When You Are Diagnosed with It?

Oct 01, 2020

We have made significant strides in dentistry throughout the decades. However, there is still a large number of people who are suffering from gum disease. In America alone, close to half of adults above 30 have advanced periodontal disease. Statistics show that periodontal disease (gum disease) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the country.

The number one cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. It can affect anyone at any age, and if it is not caught early, it might lead to severe bone damage and, eventually, tooth loss.

Do not be careless about gum disease because it has been linked to other life-threatening conditions such as stroke or heart attack. This is why you need to look for an experienced periodontist in Westwood, MA, if you think you may have the disease.

In almost all scenarios, the disease can be prevented if you keep proper oral hygiene. However, if you already suspect that you have the disease, here’s what you should know.

What Is Gum Disease?

What makes this disease deadly is that it can sneak up on you if you do not keep a lookout for the symptoms. Before your teeth become loose, you will have experienced a myriad of subtle signs that could have easily been ignored.

Gum disease starts as an inflammation of the gums, a condition known as gingivitis. If you have realized that your gums are bleeding easily, especially when you brush your teeth, you most likely have gingivitis.

Most people ignore this obvious sign at the onset of the disease. If you don’t take the correct measures and look for gum disease treatment, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.

In most cases, gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque, which results in gum irritation. When your body realizes that bacteria have formed under the gum line, it goes on overdrive in an attempt to remove the bacteria. Instead, the chronic inflammatory response works against your body, causing the gum tissue and the bone to deteriorate. This is when periodontitis kicks in.

Your gums recede, and deeper pockets start forming between your gums and teeth, causing your teeth to become loose. Gum disease comes in many forms, and the most common ones are:

  • Aggressive periodontitis
  • Chronic periodontitis
  • Necrotizing periodontal disease

Risk Factors

The number one cause of periodontitis is tartar (hardened plaque). However, here are the other risk factors of gum disease:

  • Smoking
  • Certain medications that reduce the production of saliva, such as anti-angina drugs
  • Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy or puberty
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition

Common Symptoms

As you already know, early symptoms can go unnoticed for some time. Here are the signs that you should look out for:

  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Halitosis (persistent bad breath)
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that are red and swollen
  • Gums that easily bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Formation of pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Sensitive teeth


The main goal of gum disease treatment is to clean the pockets that surround the teeth so that the gums can heal and thus, preventing further damage to the jawbone. If you quickly adopt proper oral habits, you stand a higher chance of beating this disease.

The two types of treatment that our periodontist near you will administer will depend on the severity of the disease. These are:

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Scaling

Our periodontist will remove the bacteria and the calcified plaque known as tartar form your gums and teeth using an ultrasonic device or laser.

  • Root Planing

This procedure aims to smooth out the root surfaces to prevent plaque buildup. Root planing is done to aid in the removal of bacterial byproducts that are responsible for the inflammation of the gums and cause a delay in the healing of the gums.

  • Antibiotics

Our periodontist can prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to control bacterial infection.

Surgical Treatment

If you have advanced gum disease, then surgery is the way to go. The surgical procedures employed can be:

  • Soft tissue grafts. This procedure is done if you have lost gum tissue. It reinforces the damaged soft tissue.
  • Flap surgery. This procedure is done to expose your roots so that thorough scaling and root planing can be carried out.
  • Tissue-stimulating proteins. Our dentist will apply a special gel that will stimulate the growth of bone and tissue.
  • Bone grafting. Advanced periodontitis is characterized by bone loss, so this procedure is done to bulk up the jawbone.

Gum disease is preventable if you practice proper oral hygiene, which involves brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and regular dental visits for exams and cleanings. We are a phone call away; you can call our periodontist at Westwood Dental Group for dental services near you.

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