Periodontal Diseases

Also known as: gum disease, gingivitis.

What are periodontal diseases?

Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease. There are many types of gum disease.

Gingivitis is typically the mildest, and also the one that most people are familiar with. It causes redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums.

In severe cases of periodontal disease, bacteria erode gum and supporting bone tissue, causing gum recession, spaces between the teeth and gums, loosening and shifting teeth, and eventually tooth loss.

What causes periodontal diseases?

Bacteria are the cause of gum disease. When people do a poor job of ridding the mouth of bacteria, either through poor food choices or improper dental hygiene and brushing habits, this can lead to the buildup or tartar, which can in turn lead to gum disease.

What are the symptoms of periodontal diseases?

Periodontal diseases can cause a number of symptoms, including gums that are tender, red, swollen, bleeding, painful or receding.

The diseases can also cause bad breath, loose or sensitive teeth or pain when chewing.

What are periodontal disease care options?

Treatment will depend on the severity of periodontal diseases.

Gingivitis can usually be reversed by daily brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings by a dental professional.

In more advanced cases of periodontal disease options include a deep cleaning at the dentist office, medication to treat the infection and/or referral to a dental specialist (periodontist) for consideration of surgical treatment.

Reviewed by: Lesbia Beatriz Drukteinis, DDS

This page was last updated on: June 25, 2021 11:38 AM

Children's Dental Services

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital pediatric dentistry facilities meet the unique needs of healthy infants, children, and adolescents, while also addressing the special concerns of patients with complex medical and dental issues.

Learn More