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What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Houston, TX


Gum disease treatment at McDonald Dental in Houston, TXTooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease are the two most common oral health problems facing Americans today. At McDonald Dental, we specialize in a wide variety of restorative treatments designed to get your teeth and gums back on track after a problem occurs. If you develop periodontal disease, we may recommend a procedure known as scaling and root planing.

The Two Stages of Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease is generally categorized into two forms:
•  Gingivitis: This is the first and most common stage of periodontal disease. Patients with gingivitis typically have gums that are swollen, bright in color, and tend to bleed easily. Many of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis may progress silently and slowing, meaning it is easy to ignore, resulting in further complications.
•  Periodontitis: This is the second and more serious stage of periodontal disease. Some dentists further categorize it into periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. Once the disease progresses to this latter stage, irreversible damage to the gum tissues, connective ligaments, and underlying bone is unavoidable. For this reason, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.


Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease


The most common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
•  Inflamed, dark red or purple gums
•  Bleeding during brushing and flossing routine
•  Tender or soft gums
•  Receding gums
•  Bad breath, also known as halitosis


Along with everything listed above, symptoms of periodontitis also include:
•  Severe or inexplicable pain in the gums
•  A persistent bad taste in your mouth
•  Loose teeth
•  Deep periodontal pockets, or spaces between your teeth and gums
•  Pus in your periodontal pockets
•  The development of a malocclusion, or misaligned bite
•  Tooth loss


Causes of Periodontal Disease


The most common cause of periodontal disease is plaque and tartar buildup on and around the teeth. Plaque and tartar deposits contain harmful bacteria that produce acids that attack the enamel and cause cavities. In an attempt to stifle bacterial growth, our immune system creates toxins that, unfortunately, target healthy tissues as well.

Eventually, these toxins can cause an infection in the periodontal tissues, which we commonly refer to as gum, or periodontal disease. The only way to alleviate this infection is to remove the plaque and tartar, subsequently killing off the bacteria. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing periodontal disease.

Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease


You may be at a greater risk for gingivitis and periodontitis due to:
•  A poor oral hygiene routine
•  Infrequent checkups and cleanings with a qualified dentist
•  Poor nutrition, or a diet heavy in sugars and other simple carbohydrates
•  Certain medications, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption
•  Certain systemic illnesses like diabetes and cancer
•  A sudden change in hormones, usually due to pregnancy or puberty
•  Aging
•  Genetics or a family history of periodontal disease


Periodontal Treatment


The type of periodontal treatment we recommend depends on the stage and severity of your gum disease. For example, gingivitis can usually be treated and reversed with improvements to your daily oral hygiene regimen and routine appointments.

Periodontitis, on the other hand, typically requires restorative treatment, such as a scaling and root planing. During a scaling and root planing, Dr. Louis McDonald or our dental hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler to eliminate plaque and tartar from areas above and below the teeth. Treating severely advanced periodontitis may entail surgical intervention, gum or bone grafting, and even tooth extraction. It’s always easier to prevent periodontal disease than it is to treat it!

Learn More About Periodontal Disease:




Schedule Your Appointment


If you would like to improve your periodontal health, you have come to the right place! Call McDonald Dental to schedule your appointment today!




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