13802 W Camino del Sol Suite #101
Sun City West, AZ 85375

(623) 583-0151

Gum Disease

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is when the gums surrounding your teeth become infected. Because gum disease is pain-free, most patients don’t know they have the disease. Most tooth loss in adults is caused by gum disease. When you visit your dentist for a regular checkup, he or she will check your gums for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your gums and your teeth.

What causes gum disease?

Plaque buildup is the leading cause of gum disease. If the plaque remains on your teeth or is not removed, the buildup will continue to grow and begin to release damaging toxins into the gums. When you dentist checks for periodontal disease, he will check to see if small pockets have formed that separate the gumline from your teeth.

Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis - The beginning stages of gum disease. When your gums become red,
     swollen and bleed easily. Gum disease is still treatable at this point. To stop gingivitis from advancing to the second part of periodontal disease, be sure to brush and floss regularly.

  • Periodontitis - The second stage is serious and irreversible. If periodontitis is not treated, it will damage your gums and the bones in your jaw. This might cause your teeth to fall out or have to be removed by your dentist. Take the steps necessary now to avoid dealing with the devastating effects of gum disease.

Certain habits will increase a patient's risk of periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco

  • Diabetes

  • Certain types of medication, such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

  • Bridges that no longer fit properly

  • Crooked teeth

  • Old fillings

  • Pregnancy

While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:

  • Gums that bleed

  • Red, swollen, tender gums

  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste

  • Pus between your teeth and gums

  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating

  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Treating gum disease

Treatments for gum disease might change based on severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatments, including at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planning (deep cleaning)

  • Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery

  • Dental implants

Preventing gum disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is to care for your teeth. In our office, we stress preventive care, which includes scheduling regular checkups with your dentist. In between appointments with your dentist, be sure to brush, floss and use fluoride to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth. No one has to lose teeth to periodontal disease. We are here to make sure you always keep your smile bright.