Periodontal (gum) disease, which is also known as periodontal disease and
periodontitis, is a progressive disease which if left untreated may result in
tooth loss. Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the
gingival tissues which surround and support the teeth. The cause of this
inflammation is the toxins found in plaque which cause an ongoing bacterial
The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue and deep pockets form
between the teeth and the gums. If treated promptly by a periodontist, the
effects of mild inflammation (known as gingivitis) are completely reversible.
However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease
begins to destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone; promoting tooth loss.
In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the
body via the bloodstream.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum
disease, and in many cases the risk of developing periodontitis can be
significantly lowered by taking preventative measures.
Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:
Treatment of Gum Disease
Periodontists specialize in the treatment of gum disease and the placement of
dental implants. A periodontist can perform effective cleaning procedures
in deep pockets such as scaling and root planing, and also prescribe antibiotic
and antifungal medications to treat infection and halt the progression of the
In the case of tooth loss, the periodontist is able to perform tissue grafts to
promote natural tissue regeneration, and insert dental implants if a tooth or
several teeth are missing. Where gum recession causes a “toothy” looking
smile, the periodontist can recontour the gingival tissue to create an even and
aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Preventing periodontal disease is critical in preserving the natural dentition.
Addressing the causes of gum disease and discussing them during your visit will
help prevent the onset, progression, and recurrence of periodontal disease.
If you have any questions or concerns about the causes or treatments
pertaining to gum disease, please contact our office.