Periodontal Disease

Dental Care Center of Decatur

Lynn A. Livingston, DDS

Dentist & Cosmetic Dentist located in Decatur, GA

Your gums are a vital part of your overall oral health, but people often underestimate the effect that gingivitis or periodontitis can have. If you’re experiencing the early stages of periodontal disease, don’t wait until it progresses to seek treatment. The earlier you visit Lynn A. Livingston, DDS, at Dental Care Center of Decatur, the better your chances of reversing the effects of gum disease. Call the office in Decatur, Georgia, today to make an appointment or use the online scheduling tool.

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is any disease that affects the gums and oral tissues, and most often refers to gingivitis or periodontitis. Periodontal disease usually begins with minor bacterial growth inside your mouth, but left untreated, it can cause tooth loss and severe damage to your oral tissues. 

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis usually precedes periodontitis, but not all cases of gingivitis will progress to periodontitis.

In the early stages of gingivitis, bacteria begins to grow in plaque that’s built up around your teeth. These bacteria can cause the gums to become red or inflamed, and they may bleed when you brush your teeth. While this can be painful or uncomfortable, your teeth will still be firmly planted in their sockets and no irreversible damage to your jawbone or oral tissues will have taken place. 

Gingivitis is common, but if you notice any symptoms, you should make an appointment with Dr. Livingston as soon as possible to avoid further complications

If gingivitis is left untreated, even after these symptoms, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the inner layer of gum and bone to retract from your teeth, creating small pockets. These pockets become magnets for debris and food particles, and can quickly fill with bacteria. This quickly leads to infection.

As your immune system fights this infection, the bone and connective tissues holding your teeth in place will begin to weaken and your teeth will begin to loosen. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. 

How do I know if I have periodontal disease?

Some of the most common signs you have periodontal disease include:

  • Bleeding from the gums during or after brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Receding gums
  • The formation of pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down

If you notice one or more symptoms of gum disease, call Dr. Livingston at Dental Care Center of Decatur immediately to avoid any further damage to your oral tissues.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment options depend on how advanced your periodontal disease has become, but the goal is to reduce swelling and promote the reattachment of your gums to the teeth. Gingivitis is typically treated nonsurgically, but advanced periodontitis may require surgical correction.

If your gums show signs of disease, call the Dental Care Center of Decatur today, or make an appointment online.