Periodontal Disease: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a widespread oral health issue that can have serious consequences if left untreated. It affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss and even an increased risk of developing systemic health complications. At Rocky Mountain Dental Specialists in Longmont, CO, our dedicated team of periodontists and dental specialists is committed to providing exceptional care to help patients combat periodontal disease, restore their oral health, and maintain a beautiful, functional smile.

In this comprehensive guide, we aim to educate you on the various aspects of periodontal disease, such as its causes, symptoms, and consequences. Furthermore, we will explore the different treatment options available at Rocky Mountain Dental Specialists, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and intervention to protect your oral health effectively.

By understanding the contributing factors and potential outcomes of periodontal disease, you will be better equipped to manage your oral health and make informed decisions about your periodontal care. Our experienced team of periodontists is ready to guide you through each step of your periodontal health journey and provide the necessary support to achieve lifelong oral wellness.

Periodontal disease can present in different stages, ranging from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking professional help early on is crucial for effective treatment and the preservation of your teeth and oral health. Trust our team of dental experts at Rocky Mountain Dental Specialists as your partner in the fight against periodontal disease and take proactive steps towards a healthier smile.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease primarily results from an accumulation of plaque, a sticky bacterial film that forms on teeth and gums. Several factors contribute to the development and progression of periodontal disease, including:

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate and irregular brushing and flossing can lead to plaque buildup, increasing the risk of gum infection and inflammation.
  2. Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, making them more susceptible to its development.
  3. Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco is linked to a higher risk of periodontal disease and can negatively impact treatment outcomes.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause can increase the sensitivity of gums and contribute to the development of gum disease.
  5. Medications: Certain medications can cause dry mouth or gum overgrowth, increasing the risk of periodontal issues.
  6. Diabetes and Other Systemic Conditions: People with diabetes or weakened immune systems are more prone to developing infections, including gum disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Early detection and treatment of periodontal disease are crucial to prevent its progression and minimize damage to the oral structures. Common signs and symptoms of gum disease include:

  1. Red, swollen, or tender gums
  2. Persistent bad breath or taste in the mouth
  3. Bleeding during brushing or flossing
  4. Receding gums, exposing more of the tooth surface
  5. Formation of pockets between the teeth and gums
  6. Changes in bite or tooth alignment
  7. Loose or shifting teeth

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to schedule an appointment with a periodontist, who can evaluate your oral health and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease

The treatment for periodontal disease depends on its severity and can range from non-surgical methods to advanced surgical procedures. The primary goal is to control the infection, eliminate bacterial colonies, and create a healthy environment for gum tissue to regenerate.

1. Non-Surgical Treatments:

  • Professional Dental Cleaning: Regular dental cleanings can help remove plaque and tartar, reducing the risk of gum disease progression.
  • Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning procedure involves the removal of plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, as well as smoothing the root surfaces to promote gum reattachment.
  • Medications: Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to help control bacterial infection in conjunction with scaling and root planing or other dental procedures.

2. Surgical Treatments:

  • Flap Surgery or Pocket Reduction: This procedure involves lifting the gums to remove tartar and reduce the depth of periodontal pockets, improving gum reattachment to the tooth surface.
  • Bone Grafts: In cases of advanced periodontal disease with bone destruction, bone grafting materials can be used to replace lost bone and promote regeneration.
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration: During this procedure, a membrane or barrier is placed between the gum and remaining bone to facilitate the growth of new bone and gum tissue.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts: Gum grafts may be necessary to cover exposed tooth roots, reduce gum recession, and improve the esthetics of the gumline.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by following a consistent oral hygiene routine, including regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. Implement the following measures to maintain optimal oral health:

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between teeth and beneath the gumline.
  3. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  4. Schedule regular dental appointments for professional cleanings and comprehensive exams.
  5. Maintain a balanced diet, limiting sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
  6. Avoid tobacco products and minimize alcohol consumption.


Periodontal disease can have severe consequences on your oral health and overall well-being. By understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can actively manage your oral hygiene and seek timely professional intervention. At Rocky Mountain Dental Specialists, our dedicated team of periodontists strives to provide exceptional care and guidance to help you combat periodontal disease, preserve your oral health, and restore your smile.

Take the first step towards a healthier smile. Schedule an appointment with our periodontal specialists in Longmont at Rocky Mountain Dental Specialists and let us help you achieve a lifetime of optimal oral wellness.

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