Periodontal Disease Care

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums that surround your teeth, which often leads to tooth loss or a variety of other health issues. While gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, it is also virtually pain-free and often invisible to the naked eye, meaning that many patients do not even realize they have gum disease until the condition has become severe. That’s why, at Earwood Dentistry, we provide you with regular checkup appointments to detect and treat signs of periodontal disease before they can have a lasting impact on your overall health.

Periodontal Disease

What Causes Gum Disease

When bacteria get stuck to your teeth, it can form plaque, a sticky substance that clings to the surfaces and small crevices of your teeth. If not properly removed by flossing, brushing and regular professional dental cleanings at the dentist, this bacteria continues to build up, ultimately creating toxins that damage the gums over time.

Forming just below the gum line, periodontal disease forms small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth, reducing the structural integrity of your teeth and making them more likely to feel loose or fall out.

The early stages of periodontal disease are called gingivitis. During this stage, the gums may feel swollen or appear red, and they might bleed easily when you brush or floss your teeth. This is a common problem and can be eliminated with a dedicated dental care routine of brushing and flossing.

When gingivitis is left untreated, however, it will then advance into periodontitis, which can cause far more lasting damage. In this stage, the gums and bone that support your teeth become seriously and irreversibly damaged, leading to teeth that are loose, fall out or must be removed by a dentist.

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Who Is At Risk For Gum Disease?

On some level, everyone is at risk of developing some level of periodontal disease without a regular dental care routine of thorough brushing and flossing of the teeth. However, there are certain factors that can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication, such as steroids, anti-epilepsy medication, cancer therapy, calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
  • Dental bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings
  • Pregnancy
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Symptoms of Gum Disease

As mentioned above, many patients who have periodontal disease do not even realize it until it is brought to their attention by a dentist. However, there are some symptoms that serve as signs that you may have periodontal disease. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have visibly pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Permanent teeth that feel loose or separated
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures or bridges
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Gum Disease Treatment

The treatment for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of your individual case. As discussed above, the early stages of gingivitis can be treated at home with an improved dental hygiene routine, while more progressed periodontitis will require professional treatment. Typical treatments include:

  • At-home periodontal trays
  • Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery or laser gum surgery
  • Dental implants
  • Extraction of diseased teeth
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Gum Disease Prevention

Thankfully, gum disease is preventable. The best prevention against periodontal disease is a thorough dental hygiene routine and regular dental checkups for periodontal examinations. You do not have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good dental hygiene and staying on top of your regular dental appointments, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever experiencing periodontal disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental cleanings to help keep your smile healthy!


For more information about gum disease, or to schedule a periodontal examination, call our office at (919) 847-8413 or set up your next appointment online.

earwood dentistry office hours raleigh nc


Monday 7:30am to 5:00pm
Tuesday 7:30am to 5:00pm
Wednesday 7:30am to 4:00pm
Thursday 7:30am to 5:00pm
Friday 7:30am to 12:00pm

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(919) 847-8413