Mid-Atlantic Periodontics, P.C

Gum Disease
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease, and is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each comprehensive exam, Dr. Smith will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removal by Dr. Faldu.

Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  Bridges that no longer fit properly
  Crooked teeth
  Old fillings

While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:

  Gums that bleed easily
  Red, swollen, tender gums
  Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  Pus between your teeth and gums
  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

Treating Gum Disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  Non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), laser decontamination, and chemotherapeutics (treatment with antibiotics)

  Periodontal surgery

  Dental implants

Preventing Gum Disease

Periodontal examinations with Dr. Faldu and regular dental checkups are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.