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What Is Periodontal or Gum Disease?


Periodontal Disease Diagram at Oak Park DentalTaking care of your mouth—brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and regular dental visits—is essential for keeping it healthy. Ignoring any part of your oral health regimen greatly increases your risk of developing periodontal (or gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a serious oral health issue that, untreated, only gets worse as time goes on. At Oak Park Dental, we can diagnose and treat your gum disease, restore the health of your mouth, and help you to take the measures necessary to prevent it from reoccurring.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by the excess buildup of plaque (a sticky film that accumulates on your teeth) and oral bacteria. They irritate your gum tissue, which causes your immune system to send an inflammatory response, inflaming your gums. Your gums swell, and pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and continue to irritate your gums. They also attack your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, weakening both. Eventually, your teeth loosen and may even fall out. Bacteria may even enter your bloodstream, which can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease has several causes:
•  Poor oral hygiene. Neglecting your brushing and flossing routine, and skipping your regular dental cleanings and exams can quickly lead to oral health issues.
•  Smoking. Cigarettes (and other tobacco products) are filled with thousands of chemicals. Smoking is bad for your whole-body health, including the health of your mouth. It restricts the amount of oxygen in your blood, as well as slows the blood flow. This slows the ability of your gums to heal, as they are deprived of essential oxygen and other nutrients.
•  Drinking. Alcohol can cause dry mouth, which creates the perfect environment for oral bacteria to thrive.
•  Certain medications. Some types of medications lead to dry mouth.
•  Nutritional deficiencies. Your gums rely on many nutrients to stay healthy. Vitamins C and B12 are crucial for gum health.
•  Alignment issues. When your teeth are crooked, they are more difficult to keep clean. This can create areas of your mouth where bacteria can go untouched by your toothbrush, creating a buildup of plaque and bacteria.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease has many symptoms including:
•  Your gums become red and swollen.
•  Chronic bad breath (food particles and bacteria trapped below the gum line).
•  Gum recession.
•  Spaces between your teeth that were not there before.
•  Tooth sensitivity due to root exposure.
•  Your teeth become loose.
•  Your teeth may shift from their natural alignment.
•  Your teeth fall out.

Treating Periodontal Disease

The treatment required to correct your gum disease depends on how advanced your condition is. Common periodontal treatments include:
•  Scaling and root planing. This is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth, cleaning the surfaces of your teeth, around the gum line, and below the gum line.
•  Laser dentistry. If your gums are too swollen, they can prevent a proper scaling and root planing. The use of a laser to remove infected tissue takes the place of a scalpel, helping to limit bleeding, pain and swelling while providing us the access we need to clean your teeth.
•  Pocket reduction surgery. If your periodontal pockets are too deep, we cannot properly clean your teeth. This surgical procedure provides us with the access we need to remove buildup and help your gums to heal.
•  Grafting. A gum graft (soft tissue graft) can restore a natural gum line following gum recession. In the event of bone loss, a bone graft may be needed.

If you have periodontal disease, getting treatment as soon as possible is essential for preventing serious oral (and overall) health complications. Contact Oak Park Dental at (971) 600-0211 to schedule your appointment today.
Serving Salem Keizer Community since 1987

We provide dental services for the entire family from children to older adults. Our entire team of caring Doctors, hygienists and support staff pride ourselves on a high level of patient care.

Using the latest in modern dental technology our services range from sealants to complex implant surgery. Our goal is a comfortable experience for our patients with beautiful results.


Smile more :-) Call today

(971) 600-0211


Located in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley.

Convenient hours
Monday–Friday 7am–5pm

3380 Astoria Way NE
Salem, OR 97305

(971) 600-0211

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