- Your Gums Are in Trouble
- Making a Lifelong Commitment
- Your Periodontist: A Gum Specialist
- Healthy Gums and Teeth
- Bacteria: The Invisible Troublemakers
- Stages of Periodontal Disease

Your Gums Are in Trouble

There are many telltale signs of periodontal disease: swollen, painful, or bleeding gums, bad breath, and loose or sensitive teeth. But gums don't always let you know they're in trouble, even in the late stages of the disease. Bacterial infection may be silently and progressively destroying the soft tissues and bone that support your teeth. Early diagnosis of periodontal disease, prompt treatment, and regular checkups bring the best results.

Making a Lifelong Commitment

Periodontal disease is a serious and often ongoing condition, so it takes a committed, ongoing treatment program to control it effectively. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Perlus will recommend the best course of professional treatment. Whether this means surgical or nonsurgical treatment, it always includes home care. The periodontal therapy you get in the office takes care of the infection you have now, and sets the stage for maintaining control. But only you can provide the daily flossing, brushing, and other care needed to prevent periodontal disease from getting worse or coming back.

Your Periodontist: A Gum Specialist

A periodontist is a dentist who specialized in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease. In addition to four years of dental school, Dr. Perlus has had extensive training in this specialty. He will provide you with treatment that ranges from deep cleaning of teeth and gums to surgical removal of infection and to surgery that may restore the soft tissue and bone damaged by periodontal disease. Dr. Perlus also treats temporo-mandibular jaw joint disorders (TMD), and has attained expertise in replacing missing teeth with dental implants.

Healthy Gums and Teeth

Bacteria: The Invisible Troublemakers

Many kinds of bacteria live and grow in a healthy mouth. Some cause tooth decay. Others form a sticky, colourless film (plaque) on teeth and gums. As it accumulates, plaque appears as a soft, whitish coating. It forms constantly but can be removed by proper flossing and brushing. If not removed regularly, plaque can harden into a tartar (calculus). This rough yellowish or brown deposit makes the bacteria-laden plaque hard to remove, and so may lead to periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease May Progress

Even if you have no noticeable symptoms, periodontal disease could be damaging the supportive tissues that form the foundation for your teeth. Gingivitis, a mild form of the disease, may progress to periodontitis, which in turn may lead to advanced periodontitis. The earlier you treat periodontal disease, the easier it is to control, and the better chance you have of restoring the health of your mouth and saving your teeth.

Gingivitis: If not removed regularly from teeth and gums, bacteria grow out of control and produce toxins that infect your gums. Calculus along the gumline forms a rough surface on which plaque accumulates, causing more irritation and swelling. You may notice sore, bleeding gums or bad breath. Spaces between gum and tooth (pockets) may exist, but no bone is damaged in this early, reversible form of periodontal disease.

Periodontitis: In the most common form of periodontitis, plaque (and sometimes calculus) is found below the gumline. The gums may feel irritated and be bright red, bleed easily, and shrink back (recede). The attachment fibres break down and the gum detaches and pulls away from the teeth. The pockets deepen and fill with more bacteria. Supportive ligaments and bone start to show damage, resulting in loose teeth.

Advanced Periodontitis: When periodontitis progresses to the advanced stage, pockets deepen and may fill with pus. There may be swelling around the root, and you may experience sensitivity to hot or cold or feel pain when brushing your teeth. As bone loss increases, your teeth may lose so much support they become mobile, fall out, or need to be removed to preserve the overall health of your mouth.