Gingivitis and Periodontal (Gum) Disease


Periodontal disease is the most common disease in the United States, which is why checking for signs and symptoms is a routine part of our examinations. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth (the gums and bone). Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high or as tightly as it should be. Periodontal disease attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down.

The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of gum disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to a more serious destructive form of gum disease called periodontitis which involves the loss of the bone support around the teeth. With routine exams, your chances of progressing to the late stages of this disease are greatly minimized.

Warning signs:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco smoking or chewing
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that are defective

Treatment for Gum Disease

If caught early enough, prevention may be as simple as learning new brushing techniques, changing oral healthcare products, or improving your flossing routine. We can often treat gum disease with non-surgical therapies. An advanced case of gum disease may require periodontal surgery. If required, Eberhardt Dentistry can refer you to a trusted periodontal specialist. Smoking’s Effect on Oral Health

Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease and seems to impair flow to the gums – which affects wound healing. We recommend quitting smoking as soon as possible!

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