Dental Patient Education


Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Mainly caused by plaque, it is usually painless. Regular dental visits are essential to timely diagnosis and treatment.

Early and moderate periodontal disease may exhibit few, if any, symptoms. Warning signs of advanced periodontal disease may include red, swollen or bleeding gums; persistent bad breath; permanent teeth which are loose or separating; changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.

There are many forms and stages of periodontal disease. Most common are the following:



A mild inflammation of the gums caused by plaque build-up. Gums may be red and/or sore, and bleed upon probing. An anti-microbial mouth rinse may be prescribed.



If left untreated, the gum infection damages the bone and supporting tissues. Your gum separates from the tooth and the bone level deteriorates.


Advanced Periodontitis

Your gums recede further and separate. Pus may develop, bone loss continues and your teeth may loosen or fall out.


Your Oral Health Care Provider will examine you for periodontal disease during each routine checkup. The dentist or dental hygienist may use a periodontal probe to determine if there is any breakdown in the gum tissue attachment or if pockets have developed between your gums and teeth.

Treatment will depend upon the type of periodontal disease and how far the condition has progressed. Treatment options include:


Scaling cleans the teeth to remove the plaque deposits above and below the gumline.


Root Planing

Root Planing smoothes rough root surfaces so the gum can heal. Local anesthesia may be used.

Oral Irrigation

Oral Irrigation directs anti-microbial (anti-plaque) liquid below thee gumline to flush out and kill germs to allow the regeneration of healthy tissue.


If deep pockets are found and bone has been destroyed, your Oral Health Care Provider may recommend periodontal surgery.

A proper program of brushing, flossing and regular professional cleanings will help fight plaque accumulation and gum disease, and help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Back to the Dental Patient Education Index

Copyright 1996 - 2008 All Rights Reserved.