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Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold the teeth in place.

The gums, ligaments and bone around the teeth form the foundation of one's teeth and all structures are also collectively referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is unhealthy, it jeopardizes the supporting bone that hold the teeth in placed. It is a similar concept as how a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house.

The main cause of periodontal disease is the formation of bacterial plaque and calculus on the teeth. If allowed to build up, periodontal pockets form between the gum and tooth structure and lead to destruction of the underlying bone.


Types of Gum Disease

There are three main stages of periodontal disease:

Gingivitis: The mildest form of periodontal disease. The gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is little to no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and proper homecare.

Mild Periodontitis: Plaque and calculus spread below the gumline, inflammation occurs and pockets begin to form. Symptoms are usually minimal. Gingivitis left untreated leads to early stages of periodontal disease.

Moderate to Advanced Periodontitis: More involved gum tissue and bone destruction occurs, deeper pockets and possible tooth mobility leading to loss of teeth.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease:

  • Bleeding Gums
  • Redness or Inflammation of the gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Pus or exudate around teeth
  • Bad taste, odor or halitosis
  • Tooth mobility
  • Receding gumline
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Periodontal pockets
  • Changes or shifting in the position of your teeth

* Some cases present with no obvious signs or symptoms of gum disease.

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

There are a variety of risk factors that may contribute to the development and/or progression of periodontal disease. It is essential to discuss these risk factors with Dr. Mason so she can adequately classify your disease and establish a treatment plan that is right for you.

  • Age
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
  • Having Other Systemic Diseases
  • Poor Nutrition or Obesity

Please contact our office if you have any questions, (231) 932-4223.

Top notch facility, staff is wonderful and caring. Dr. Mason is gentle and knowledgeable in her field.
—Horace C.