What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gum tissue and supporting structures of the teeth. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth and can lead to the destruction of the gums, ligaments, and bones that hold the teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss.

There are several stages of periodontal disease:

  1. Gingivitis: If daily flossing and brushing do not remove the plaque at the gum line, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
  1. Periodontitis: At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.
  1. Advanced Periodontitis: In this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite; if aggressive treatment can’t save them, teeth may need removal.


Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). When plaque is not adequately removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar (calculus), which can only be removed by a dental professional. The bacteria in plaque and tartar produce toxins that irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and infection. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth.


Periodontal disease can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen, red, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums

How Is Periodontal Disease Identified?

During a dental exam, Dr. Patel typically checks for these things:

  • Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
  • Any breakdown in the bone* surrounding your teeth

*Dr. Patel may take dental X-rays to assess the bone levels around the teeth

Why Is Periodontal Disease Treatment & Maintenance Important?

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that requires treatment to prevent further damage and tooth loss. Treatment aims to remove the bacteria and calculus from the pockets around the teeth, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. It may include:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of the teeth and smoothing the root surfaces to remove bacteria.
  • Medications: Antibiotics or antimicrobial mouth rinses may be prescribed to help control infection and promote healing.
  • Surgery: In advanced cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair damaged tissues or regenerate lost bone.

How Often May I Need Periodontal Treatment?

Regular maintenance is crucial in managing periodontal disease. It typically involves professional cleanings and check-ups every three to four months to monitor the condition and prevent the disease from progressing.

The specific treatment and maintenance schedule is something that Dr. Patel here at Colonialtown in Orlando will take the time to discuss with you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Interested in Learning More About Periodontal Treatment?

Dr. Patel and his team at Colonialtown Dental have extensive experience and knowledge regarding periodontal conditions and their treatment. Colonialtown Dental has been serving Orlando and the surrounding areas for over 28 years. Book online or give us a call today!