Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Your Gums' Worst Enemy

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

When people think of oral hygiene, they tend to think of their teeth and neglect their gums. However, gum disease is a major reason why people lose their teeth. When gum disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth and an infection begins to destroy the bone that holds the teeth in place. If allowed to progress to this point, surgery is often necessary to save the teeth. Since gum disease is often painless, many people are unaware that they have a problem. That's why it is important to be aware of the symptoms:


  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gum recession, which makes the teeth look longer
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (appears when gums are pressed)
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth moving away from one another
  • Changes in the way upper and lower teeth fit together

Do you have periodontal (gum) disease?

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to heart disease and premature babies. It is virtually painless and, by the time you are aware of it, your gums and bone could be severely affected.


Some of the warning signs are:


  • Gums that bleed easily.
  • Red, swollen, and tender gums.
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating.

Prevention and early treatment are imperative. Periodontal disease can be treated non-surgically. A new non-surgical technique, which involves inserting antiseptics and antibiotics into the periodontal pocket, has shown extremely promising results. This is almost always done without injections and is extremely well tolerated.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy:

Non-surgical therapy removes plaque and calculus by controlling the growth of harmful bacteria and by treating conditions that encourage gum disease. This type of treatment may be all that's needed, especially when periodontal disease is caught early. You may also need to have certain procedures, such as replacing worn fillings or crowns with overhanging margins that can accumulate plaque, taken care of before periodontal therapy can begin.


Scaling and Root Planing:

Scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque and calculus from the teeth at and slightly below the gum line. Root planing smoothes root surfaces, so the supportive tissues can better reattach to the tooth surface. Often, this will be done with local anesthesia so you can relax and feel nothing as we rehabilitate your gums.



Periodontal disease is a bacterial disease and the key to controlling or eliminating it is the effective reduction or elimination of the harmful bacteria. An adjunctive option to scaling and root planing may be provided in either pill form or applied directly to the infected area (gum pocket) in the form of antibiotic powder. An antibacterial mouth rinse also may be prescribed to help control the harmful effects of and reduce bacterial plaque.


Occlusal (Bite) Adjustment:

An improper bite or a traumatic occlusion may increase bone destruction attached to such offending teeth. We may either choose to adjust your bite so that your teeth meet properly and function better or construct a custom bite guard or splint- a removable device that fits over upper or lower teeth - to protect teeth surfaces and relax tense jaw muscles.


Surgical Periodontal Therapy:

In situations where the patient's periodontal disease is in more advanced stages, or the gum tissue does not respond favorably to non-surgical therapy, gum surgery may be recommended, This involves patient referral to a gum specialist, called a periodontist. It is the goal of our office to avoid recommending periodontal surgery unless there is a very clear long-term benefit expected.


Make an Appointment

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Wilmette Dental

344 Linden Ave.

Wilmette, IL 60091




Office Hours

Monday: 8:00AM - 4:30PM

Tuesday: 8:00AM - 4:30PM

Wednesday: 8:00AM - 2:00PM

Thursday: 1:30PM - 7:30PM

Friday: Closed

Saturday: 8:00AM - 2:00PM (alternating)



Outside our regular business hours, please note our emergency care information.


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