Periodontics in Plano, TX

Non-Surgical Gum Treatments

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for teeth. All structures are also referred to as the Periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth.

With proper gum treatments, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planning done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. It is important to have gum problems checked promptly, as gum disease left alone may eventually need treatment through surgery or extraction.

A woman getting a periodontal (gum) checkup at the dentist.

Periodontal Disease

For more detailed information contact your health care provider about options that may be available for your specific situation.

Periodontal disease is second only to the common cold as the most prevalent infectious ailment in the United States. It affects 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 and is the major cause of adult tooth loss. The rate of periodontal disease increases with age, ranging from 15 percent at age 10 to more than 50 percent at age 50 years.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal means “located around a tooth.” Periodontal disease therefore can refer to any disorder of the gums or other supporting structures of the teeth.

Warning Signs of Potentially Severe Periodontal Disease

Warning signs of potentially severe periodontal disease include the following symptoms:

● Loose teeth.

● A change in the way your teeth fit together.

● A change in the fit of partial dentures.

● Red, swollen, or tender gums.

● Gums that bleed when you brush or floss.

● Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.

● Constant bad breath.

● Dry mouth.

● Bruxism.

3 Common Types of Periodontal Disease


Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is the early stage of periodontal disease and is considered the mildest form of periodontal disease. It is caused by plaque. Plaque is the sticky deposits of bacteria, mucus, and food particles that adhere to the teeth. The accumulation of plaque causes the gums to become infected and swollen. As the gums swell, pockets form between the gums and the teeth that act as a trap for still more plaque. Other factors that contribute to the development of gingivitis include breathing through the mouth, badly fitted fillings and prostheses that irritate the surrounding gum tissue, and a diet consisting of too many soft foods that rob the teeth and gums of much-needed “exercise.” Genetics also may be a factor, as a tendency toward periodontal disease seems to run in families. The gums become red, soft, and shiny, and they bleed easily. In some cases, there is pain, but gingivitis can also be essentially painless.

Pyorrhea (Periodontitis)

Pyorrhea (Periodontitis) is a condition that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. This is an advanced stage of periodontal disease in which the bone supporting the teeth begins to erode as a result of the infection. Abscesses are common. Pyorrhea causes halitosis (bad breath), with bleeding and often painful gums. Poor nutrition, improper brushing, wrong foods, sugar consumption, chronic illness, glandular disorders, blood disease, smoking, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption make an individual more likely to develop pyorrhea. It is often related to a deficiency of vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, folic acid, or niacin. Smokers are more susceptible than non-smokers to periodontitis and tooth loss. Periodontal disease can be made worse by missing teeth, food impaction, malocclusion, tongue-thrusting, tooth-grinding, and toothbrush trauma.

There are four basic forms of advanced periodontitis:

● Aggressive Periodontitis: A form of periodontitis that occurs in people who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment, bone loss or destruction, and familial aggregation.

● Chronic Periodontitis: A form of periodontal disease resulting in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment, and bone loss and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is recognized as the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis. It is prevalent in adults but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.

● Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases: Periodontitis, often with onset at a young age, is associated with one of several systemic diseases, such as diabetes.

● Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases: An infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions including, but not limited to, HIV infection, malnutrition, and immunosuppression.


Stomatitis is inflammation of the oral tissues and may affect the lips, palate, and insides of the cheeks. It often occurs as part of another disease. Stomatitis produces swollen gums that bleed easily. Sores may develop in the mouth and eventually become blister-like lesions that can affect the gums. Two common types of stomatitis are acute herpetic stomatitis (better known as oral herpes) and aphthous stomatitis (canker sores).

Causes of Periodontal Disease

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums.

Nutritional Deficiencies: Problems in the mouth often are reflections of deficiencies or underlying disorders in the body. Bleeding gums may signal a vitamin C deficiency. Dryness and cracking at the corners of the mouth may indicate a deficiency of vitamin B-2 (riboflavin). Both conditions may also signal a generalized nutritional deficiency. A smooth, reddish tongue can indicate anemia or poor diet. See below for more information about correcting or preventing nutritional deficiencies.

Underlying Disorders & Systemic Diseases: Diseases that interfere with the body’s immune system may worsen the condition of the gums. Dry or cracked lips can be the result of an allergic reaction. Raw, red mouth tissue may be a sign of stress. Sores under the tongue can be an early warning sign of mouth cancer. Regular dental checkups can help detect these conditions early. One advantage (perhaps the only one) to having allergies is that people who suffer from allergies are less likely to lose teeth to periodontal disease. The reason, apparently, is that the allergy sufferer’s overactive immune system is better at fighting off the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

Poor Oral Hygiene: Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. Regular intimate contact with an infected person can transmit the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

Smoking/Tobacco Use: Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.

Genetic Factors: Some people appear to be more susceptible than others to the bacteria that cause gum disease because of genetic factors. Research proves that up to 30 percent of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early interventive treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Women & Periodontitis: As a woman, you know that your health needs are unique. You know that brushing and flossing daily, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are all important to help you stay in shape. You also know that at specific times in your life, you need to take extra care of yourself. Times when you mature and change, for example, puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy. During these particular times, your body experiences hormonal changes. These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body, including your gums. Your gums can become sensitive and, at times, react strongly to hormonal fluctuations. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease. Additionally, recent studies suggest that pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver preterm, low-birth-weight babies.

Stress: As you probably already know, stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. What you may not know is that stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.

Medications: Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth: Have you been told that you grind your teeth at night? Is your jaw sore from clenching your teeth when you are taking a test or solving a problem at work? Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Dry Mouth: Dry mouth, a condition in which there is not enough saliva in the mouth, can promote tooth decay and periodontal disease. Saliva is essential for ridding the mouth of plaque, sugar, and debris. Dry mouth problems increase with age; more than half of people over the age of 55 are affected by it. It can also be caused by alcohol consumption or by prescription or over the counter drugs, especially those for high blood pressure, depression, colds, and allergies. Diabetes is also associated with dry mouth. The best treatment for dry mouth is to draw more moisture from the salivary glands by chewing carrots, celery, or gum; sipping liquids (drinking 8 to 10 cups of water daily); chewing ice chips; or breathing through the nose.

Diabetes: Diabetes is a disease that causes altered levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes develops from either a deficiency in insulin production (a hormone that is the key component in the body’s ability to use blood sugars) or the body’s inability to use insulin correctly. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 16 million Americans have diabetes; however, more than half have not been diagnosed with this disease. If you are diabetic, you are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal diseases. These infections can impair the ability to process and/or utilize insulin, which may cause your diabetes to be more difficult to control and your infection to be more severe than a non-diabetic.

Conventional Medical Treatment of Peridontal Disease

Regular dental checkups are important in detecting periodontal disease and oral cancer. Oral cancer is a disease that strikes 30,000 Americans each year. If oral cancer is caught early, 9 out of 10 people survive.

A simple blood test can detect gum disease up to 8 months before symptoms appear, according to Dr. Jeffery Ebersole, associate professor of periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center. A dentist can draw a drop of blood from a finger and have it analyzed for the bacteria that cause gum disease.

Air abrasion technology, a dental technique that painlessly removes tooth decay without drilling, allows dentists to make smaller fillings and save more of the natural tooth. The new technique, considered to be a major breakthrough, does not necessitate numbing drugs or anesthesia.

If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist determines that the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment. Severe cases of periodontal disease may necessitate surgery to remove the infected tissue from the gum and reshape the bone. Following are the four types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed:

If you have already lost a tooth to periodontal disease, you may be interested in dental implants – the permanent tooth replacement option. Dental implants look more natural than dentures, and many people are opting for them. Unfortunately, improperly inserted dental implants can cause or exacerbate periodontal disease. If you are interested in implants, consult an implant specialist.


● The process of periodontal disease is easier to reverse if it is caught early. It is important to know the symptoms and get regular dental check-ups for periodontal disease.

● Severe cases of periodontal disease may necessitate surgery to remove the infected tissue from the gum and reshape the bone.

● Certain illnesses, such as diabetes and several kinds of blood disorders, create a higher risk of developing gum disease.

● Research suggests that people who have severe periodontal disease are at greater risk of heart disease, lung disease, stroke, ulcers, poor control of diabetes, and giving birth prematurely. Studies are ongoing, regarding the effect periodontal disease has on the health of the body. It is suspected that bacteria that exist in periodontal pockets may easily enter the bloodstream. So by caring for your teeth, you may also be caring for whole-body health.

● Regular intimate contact with an infected person can transmit the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

● Smoking is a major factor in irritating the gums and mouth. It has been linked to mouth and esophagus cancer.

● Some people appear to be more susceptible than others to the bacteria that cause gum disease because of a genetic predisposition.

● Dental implants look more natural than dentures, and many people are opting for them. Unfortunately, improperly inserted dental implants can cause or exacerbate periodontal disease. If you are interested in implants, consult an implant specialist.

● Researchers are studying a possible link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and a decrease in tooth loss. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston found a 24 percent decrease in tooth loss among women using HRT. It is suspected that this may be because HRT aids in protecting against bone loss of bone mineral density in the jaw. HRT is not without its risks; however, some of them are potentially serious.

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