Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?


Periodontal disease is localized response to plaque bacteria. It starts with an inflammation in the gums (Gingivitis) but can eventually spread to the jawbone that supports the teeth. The result can be a painless loss of the supporting jawbone (Periodontitis) and eventual loss of the teeth. “Don’t wait until it hurts!”

Plaque bacteria is the primary cause of Gingivitis and Periodontitis.  Plaque bacteria is a sticky colorless film, composed primarily of food particles and various types of oral bacteria, which adheres to your teeth at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth, even minutes after cleaning. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. Gums may become inflamed, red, swollen, and bleed easily.  If daily brushing and flossing is neglected, plaque bacteria can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line.

Some people are more susceptible to Periodontal Disease than other people. That’s why we always ask about your family history with Periodontal Disease. But, like Type II Diabetes, there is a genetic component that you can’ t control and lifestyle changes that you can control. Some lifestyle changes to improve your oral health include good brushing and flossing, not smoking and getting your Type II Diabetes under control. Any condition that can weaken your immune system may make you more susceptible to Periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection and, as such, can affect your overall health. There is evidence linking Periodontal Disease to Heart Disease and Stroke. There is also a suggestion that treating Periodontal Disease may assist Type II Diabetics in achieving better glycemic control! 

During the Periodontal Examination we perform a periodontal probing. Dr. Alvarenga is very gentle and this should not cause any pain.