Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)


What is it?

It is an inflammatory process of the gums and tooth supporting bone that can lead to tooth loss as well as contribute to other medical complications.


As gum disease progresses through different stages, the damage to the supporting structures worsens and the risk of tooth loss is higher.

  • Gingivitis:  Inflammation of the gum tissue without damage to the underlying bone

  • Mild Periodontal Disease: Inflammation of the gum tissue with bone loss 

  • Moderate Periodontal Disease

  • Severe Periodontal Disease-usually results in tooth loss


There are 2 factors that determine whether or not you will develop periodontal disease and both must be present for the disease to progress.

  • Susceptibility/Genetics-yep, thank your parents for this one.  You have to have certain genes to be susceptible to periodontal disease.  The Interleukin-1 gene is a critical component of inflammatory conditions, including periodontal disease.

  • Bacteria-Every person has bacteria in their mouth, but the type and quantity is the determining factor.  Individuals that are genetically prone to developing periodontal disease tend to have more anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that don't need oxygen) in the pockets around their teeth and this bacteria multiplies within the pocket if it is not removed every 3-4 months by a hygienist.  If the bacteria is allowed to remain in the pocket, more destruction occurs.

Risk Factors
  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Bad Breath that is noticeable to other people and it won't go away

  • Red, Swollen, Bleeding Gums

  • Loose teeth

  • Teeth appear longer and you start to notice space between them near the gums

  • We can test your genetic susceptibility to developing periodontal disease.  The cool thing about this test is it will also tell us if you are susceptible to other inflammatory diseases like Cardiovascular Disease (Heart Attack and Stroke), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimers, and more!  What this means is that if you have periodontal disease, you could be at risk for these other inflammatory conditions as well.

  • Bacteria testing-We can test your saliva to see what types of bacteria are present and what antibiotics they are susceptible to.

  • Deep Cleaning (Scale and Root Plane)-All tartar/calculus deposits are removed from your teeth and the root surfaces are smoothed to prevent the bacteria from reattaching.

  • Maintenance-After the deep cleaning it is very important to stay on top of your maintenance cleanings every 3-4 months depending on the severity of your gum disease and how quickly you get tartar buildup.

Please let us know if you are taking the following herbal supplements: Ginger, Ginseng, Garlic, Gingko.  These can increase gingival bleeding in the absence of periodontal disease.


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Sweet Smiles Family Dentistry

8245 N. Silverbell Rd. #145

Tucson, AZ 85743