Questions about Periodontics

Lake Oswego Dentist Serving Portland, & Nearby West Linn, OR

What is periodontics?

Periodontics refers to the branch of dentistry that treats gums and other support tissues in the mouth.

Why is it necessary to treat periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. In addition, periodontal disease is an infection that can spread to the blood and other parts of the body. Unchecked gum disease has been correlated to heart disease, low birth weight babies, and other systemic illnesses.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Therefore, periodontal diseases are severe bacterial infections that ultimately destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, these diseases can result in tooth loss.

There are many forms of periodontal disease:

  • Gingivitis: This is the mildest form, caused by a buildup of plaque.
  • Chronic periodontitis: This results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, leading to progressive attachment and bone loss. The most common form of gum disease, chronic periodontitis can be characterized by recession of the gingiva and pocket formation.
  • Aggressive periodontitis: This strikes patients who are generally healthy. Symptoms include rapid loss of attachment fibers and bone destruction. Aggressive periodontitis is usually limited to an isolated area.
  • Periodontis as a manifestation of systemic diseases: This condition can be caused by heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

Is it normal for my gums to bleed when I brush my teeth?

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you should see a dentist. Bleeding gums are one of the telltale signs of periodontal disease. If your gum tissue were the skin on your hand and your hands bled every time you washed them, it would indicate a problem. There are also a number of other symptoms.

What are some other symptoms of gum disease?

Aside from bleeding gums, these include:

  • Red, swollen and tender gums
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from your teeth, making your teeth look longer
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus that accumulates between your tooth and gums
  • A change in the fit of your dentures

If I smoke or chew tobacco, is my risk for developing periodontal disease greater?

Studies indicate that tobacco use is one of the greatest risk factors in the development and progression of gum disease. Smokers and tobacco chewers are more likely to have calculus form on their teeth and have deeper pockets between their teeth and gums. The result is an increased loss of bone and tissue that supports the teeth.

Can periodontal disease be genetic?

Periodontal disease does run in families. Most commonly it is passed between family members by kissing, sharing food, or sharing toothbrushes.

How do I prevent periodontal disease?

To prevent periodontal disease, take good care of your gums. Follow our dental care tips, and make regular dental hygiene appointments.

If you would like additional information on periodontics and you live in Portland, Lake Oswego, West Linn or surrounding Oregon areas, please email our Oregon Cosmetic Dentistry office. We can schedule your personal cosmetic dentistry consultation with Dr. Wendling and help ensure your oral health in our spa-like facility.

Portland Cosmetic Dentist

17437 Boones Ferry Road Suite 400
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035