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Periodontal disease is a slow, progressive disease that can destroy you oral and systemic health. Many of the hallmark symptoms of periodontal disease sneak up on us and are often ignored at least initially. It is important not to ignore these signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease comes in many different forms including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.  Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to help halt subsequent bone and gum tissue loss. Risk of periodontal disease increases with age. For younger people, dental caries are a more important risk for tooth loss, while for older people, periodontal disease is the more important risk factor.

Risk Factors Of Periodontal Disease

-Age. Studies have shown that over 70% of all Americans aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

-Tobacco Use (including smoking). We are well aware of the health effects of smoking on our overall health. These diseases include various types of cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Research has also shown that tobacco use also increases a persons risk for periodontal disease.

-Family History (Genetics). Some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. This is because of our genetic makeup.

-Stress. Studies have shown that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, this includes periodontal diseases.

Prescription Drugs (Medications). Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dentist.

-Bruxism (Teeth Grinding). Bruxism can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

-Presence Of Systemic Disease. Many systemic diseases can interfere with the inflammatory process. These include cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

-Poor Diet/ Nutrition. A diet low in important, essential nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums.

Periodontal Disease Signs And Symptoms

Bleeding Upon Brushing, Flossing, Or Even Eating. This is one of the most common signs that periodontal disease is active. It is often overlooked as not a big deal. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. As the bacteria and toxins build up in the mouth, the body responds by activating the inflammatory process, rushing our cells to stop the attack. This will cause the gum tissues to become inflamed and red. It is important to also note that bleeding gums can also be the sign of something more sinister like leukemia and blood platelet disorders.

Unexplained Pain Or Swelling. Periodontal infections present in this manner. When an oral infection occurs, it is essential that you get to a dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment. If the infection is left unchecked it will cause damage to the gum tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. It can also be carried to other parts of the body through the blood stream affecting your overall health.

-Persistent Halitosis (Bad Breath). Bad breath can occur from many things but peristent bad breath can mean progressive periodontal disease . As the gum tissues are destroyed, the areas where the oral bacteria can flourish will increase causing a foul odor in the mouth. There are other causes of chronic halitosis that should also be ruled out by your dentist prior to treatment.

-Change In Your Smile Or Loose Teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, your teeth will loosen and move out of position. This will effect the way your teeth fit together and even alter your smile.

-Teeth Become Longer In Appearance. As periodontal disease progresses it will lead to destruction of the bone and gum tissues. This will show up as gum recession. Once the gum tissues pull back they expose more of the tooth and root, making them appear longer than before.

Pus Drainage. This goes along with the periodontal infection mentioned previously. An active periodontal infection will create pus which can ooze out from between the teeth and gums causing a bad taste and bad breath (malodor).

Periodontal Disease Prevention

Dental and Periodontal Examinations

Your dentist will complete a thorough examination with x-rays and periodontal charting. Notations about the visual condition of the gum tissue will also be recorded. In its earliest stages the gum tissue is usually red, puffy, and painless or slightly tender at this point. Plaque and tartar will more than likely be present to some degree. A periodontal probe will be used to measure around the teeth to see if your periodontal disease has progressed and to what degree. It is important to note that once bone loss has occurred you now have a more advanced form of periodontal disease.

Following the examination, your dentist will recommend a course of treatment for your periodontal disease. This will include a professional cleaning along with extra home care instructions. The goal in treatment is to reduce the inflammation and not allow progression of the disease. An antibacterial rinse (example, Listerine) may also be recommended for at home use. Your dentist may also recommend repair of misaligned or crooked teeth to aid you in your home care efforts. Your dentist may also recommend a more frequent schedule(every 4-6 months) to control your periodontal disease.

Following removal of plaque and tartar, bleeding and tenderness of the gums should begin to subside within 1-2 weeks after professional cleaning and careful dental hygiene. Warm salt water or antibacterial rinses can also reduce gum inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti inflammatory medication can also aid in pain and inflammation reduction.

Healthy gums should look pink and firm with no bleeding upon brushing, flossing, or eating. Good oral hygiene must be maintained for your whole life, or periodontal disease will come back and possibly advance past the gingivitis form into advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis).

Steps to prevent periodontal disease should include:

-Routine dental visits. Usually recommended every 3- 6 months for examination and professional cleaning.

-Maintain At Home Dental Care. Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

-Rinsing with an antiseptic rinse as recommended by your dentist. Choose one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.

Consult your physician if the bleeding is severe or chronic, gums continue to bleed even after dental treatment, or you have other unexplained symptoms along with the bleeding from your gums. These could all be the sign of a more serious condition than periodontal disease and should be checked out as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Preventing periodontal disease is up to the patient. Luckily, it is preventable with diligence and effort. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly will lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles.




Periodontal disease is a slow moving, progressive dental disease that can slowly sneak up on us. Many ignore the warning signs simply because many of them are painless. It is important to recognize these warning signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. There are many different types of periodontal disease including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.  Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to help halt subsequent bone and gum tissue loss.

Common Periodontal Disease Signs And Symptoms

Bleeding Upon Brushing, Flossing, Or Eating. This is one of the most common signs that periodontal disease is active. It is often also one of the most overlooked signs. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. As the bacteria and toxins build up in the mouth, the body responds by activating the inflammatory process, rushing our cells to stop the attack. This will cause the gum tissues to become inflamed and red. It is important to note that bleeding gums can also be something more sinister like leukemia and blood platelet disorders.

Unexplained Pain Or Swelling. This can be caused by a periodontal infection. At this point it is essential that you get to a dentist as soon as possible. If the infection is left unchecked it will cause damage to the gum tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. It can also be carried to other parts of the body through the blood stream.

-Persistent Bad Breath (Halitosis). Bad breath can occur from many things but peristent bad breath can mean progressive periodontal disease . As the gum tissues are destroyed, the areas where the oral bacteria can flourish will increase causing a foul odor in the mouth. There are other causes of chronic halitosis that should also be ruled out.

-Change In Your Smile Or Loose Teeth. As periodontal disease advances, your teeth will loosen and shift out of position. This will effect the way your teeth fit together and even alter your smile.

-Teeth Become Longer In Appearance. As periodontal disease progresses it will lead to destruction of the bone and gum tissues. This will show up as gum recession. Once the gum tissues pull back they expose more of the tooth and root, making them appear longer than before.

Pus Drainage. This goes along with the periodontal infection mentioned previously. An active periodontal infection will create pus which can ooze out from between the teeth and gums causing a bad taste and malodor.

Avoiding Periodontal Disease

Dental and Periodontal Examinations

Your dentist will complete a thorough examination with x-rays and periodontal charting. Notations about the visual condition of the gum tissue will also be recorded. In its earliest stages the gum tissue is usually red, puffy, and painless or slightly tender at this point. Plaque and tartar will more than likely be present to some degree. A periodontal probe will be used to measure around the teeth to see if your periodontal disease has progressed and to what degree. It is important to note that once bone loss has occurred you now have a more advanced form of periodontal disease.

Following the examination, your dentist will recommend a course of treatment for your periodontal disease. This will include a professional cleaning along with extra home care instructions. The goal in treatment is to reduce the inflammation and not allow progression of the disease. An antibacterial rinse (example, Listerine) may also be recommended for at home use. Your dentist may also recommend repair of misaligned or crooked teeth to aid you in your home care efforts. Your dentist may also recommend a more frequent schedule(every 4-6 months) to control your periodontal disease.

Following removal of plaque and tartar, bleeding and tenderness of the gums should begin to subside within 1-2 weeks after professional cleaning and careful dental hygiene. Warm salt water or antibacterial rinses can also reduce gum inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti inflammatory medication can also aid in pain and inflammation reduction.

Healthy gums should look pink and firm with no bleeding upon brushing, flossing, or eating. Good oral hygiene must be maintained for your whole life, or periodontal disease will come back and possibly advance past the gingivitis form into advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis).

Steps to prevent periodontal disease should include:

-Routine dental visits. Usually recommended every 3- 6 months for examination and professional cleaning.

-Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

-Rinsing with an antiseptic rinse as recommended by your dentist.

Consult your physician if the bleeding is severe or chronic, gums continue to bleed even after dental treatment, or you have other unexplained symptoms along with the bleeding from your gums. These could all be the sign of a more serious condition than periodontal disease and should be checked out as soon as possible.

Periodontal Disease Conclusion

Periodontal Disease in its beginning stage is very treatable and should be easily controlled. Keeping periodontal disease from progressing to more advanced stages should be your goal. It takes a regular effort by both you and your dentist but it can be done. Getting control of periodontal disease will not only help your overall health, but will keep you smiling!



From time to time, we may all experience dental issues that we may not quite understand. Many dental symptoms may seem harmless at first but could develop into something far more serious. Below you will find some of the more common dental symptoms that can arise and what they might mean for your dental health.

Common Dental Symptoms

Sensitive Teeth. This can start out as a slight twinge of discomfort when eating hot or cold foods (or drink), eating sweets, or while brushing. The sensitivity may subside quickly or become increasingly more painful. Sensitive teeth can be due to tooth decay, worn down enamel, tooth fractures, periodontal disease, or gum recession. Whatever the reason, it is important to have the sensitivity checked by a dentist to assess whether further might be necessary . There are many treatments for sensitive teeth.

Bleeding Gums. This is a sign of the early stages of gum disease also known as gingivitis. Gums that bleed should not be ignored.  Many often make the mistake that brushing, flossing, or their dental cleaning caused the bleeding, this is rarely the case. Healthy gums do not bleed during hygiene procedures.  If caught early enough, gingivitis can be reversed with proper professional help and good at home dental hygiene.

Pain In Teeth. Toothaches can occur from a variety of causes. These can include tooth decay, fractured teeth, infected teeth, or even periodontal disease. Any toothache should be examined by a dentist to see why it is happening.

Halitosis (Bad Breath). This can be a troubling symptom for many as it makes us feel socially embarrassed. Bad breath can be caused by any number of things including poor dental hygiene, periodontal disease, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and even due to some medications we may be taking. If the bad breath persists after professional cleanings and improved at home care it is important to see your dentist to further evaluate the root cause of your bad breath.

Oral Ulcers. These can be quite painful with causes ranging from infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal) to apthous ulcers (canker sores), or irritations from dental appliances. It is recommended that any sore lasting more than 5-7 days should be checked by your dentist to ensure your health.

Clicking Noises, Jaw Pain, and Dislocation of Jaw. Temperomandibular Joint disorders can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. If you experience any type of jaw pain it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible to figure out the source of the problem.

Discolored Teeth. A tooth discoloration could be the sign of a tooth that is dying due to trauma or infection. If the discoloration is more widespread it could be caused by ingestion of staining foods like coffee or teas. The discoloration needs to be assessed and possibly radiographed to determine the cause and decide upon treatment.

Dry Mouth. Salivary flow is extremely important to maintain dental health. Our saliva acts to wash over our teeth and gums constantly cleaning and maintaining the proper pH balance in the mouth. Dry mouth (xerostomia) can be a symptom of many different health issues and medications. Your dentist can help you find a solution to dry mouth issues.

Loose Teeth. Noticeable movement of teeth is a sign of attachment loss of connective tissues. Whether due to trauma, infection, or periodontal disease, mobility of a tooth needs to be checked by your dentist.

Swelling. Infections of the mouth can and usually will exhibit swelling as the bacteria multiplies in the mouth. Dental swelling can be life threatening and should be evaluated immediately as to the cause.

-Cracked or Fractured Teeth. Damaged teeth can be caused by trauma or brittle tooth decay. Some cracks are so small they cannot be detected even with X-rays, but it is important to have cracked teeth checked by a dentist to ensure that no additional damage or decay will occur.

Dental Symptoms Conclusion

Being informed and educated regarding possible dental symptoms will give you an advantage in knowing when to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Generally, the earlier you receive dental treatment for dental symptoms, the better off you will be. Maintaining a healthy oral environment requires your attention to dental symptoms, and proper treatment in a timely fashion. It is best to consult with a dentist even if you feel the symptom might be minor.



Modern dentistry has evolved from the days of just a simple nightguard for grinders. A well trained dentist can treat a number of issues that were not even considered even 15 years ago. Bite appliances can be utilized in treatment of, the combination of clenching and bruxing, obstructive sleep apnea, TMJ pain, and sports mouthguards. These appliances allow patients to live more comfortable, healthier lives while enjoying the activites they love.

Teeth Clenching and Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

These are fairly common issues for many Americans. Studies have been unable to pinpoint the exact number of people in the population that grind or clench but it is believed, that most people at some point in their life will experience this habit. This is sometimes considered to be a stress related habit. Most patients with these habits, do so while sleeping, so they are unaware of the forces exerted on their teeth while they sleep. Teeth clenching and grinding can cause a number of dental issues that include:

-Loose Teeth.

-Temperature Sensitivity.

-Tooth Chipping and Fracturing.

-Flattened teeth.

Bite Appliances are used to protect the teeth and also to re-train us to prevent continued grinding and clenching. These bite appliances are made from polymers and acrylics. They are generally custom made for each patient for added comfort and protection. These bite appliances work by not allowing the teeth to touch, making it restrictive to clench or grind. For those with an extreme form of these habits, it is not unusual to grind through the appliance over time necessitating a new appliance to be made.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

This is sometimes known as the “silent killer”. Obstructive sleep apnea can be potentially a very serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep time. Obstructive sleep apnea is believed to affect about 25% of the population. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by:

-Excessive daytime sleepiness.

-Both habits of clenching and grinding at night.

-Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep.

-Awakening abruptly accompanied by shortness of breath.

-Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking in the morning.

There are generally two types of bite appliances available for obstructive sleep apnea. These include over the counter ones and custom fabricated ones. The idea behind either of these bite appliances is to maintain an open airway during sleep to stop the disturbances from occurring.  These bite appliances work by repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, and soft palate. The custom fitted appliances tend to work far better than the generic ones.

TMJ Disorder appliances

These bite appliances help to reposition and decompress the jaw. TMJ disorder appliances are generally worn at night, and help to decrease the inflammation and pain associated with TMJ instability.

Athletic Mouthguards

These have really come into fashion in the last decade, as more and more research has gone into sports medicine, better airway maintenance and prevention of concussions. The old days of the generic “boil and bite” mouthguard are slowly fading away. We are now in the age of custom fitted athletic mouthguards that are able to not only give better protection against injury but also increase athletic performance. The thinking is, that how an athlete clenches his/her teeth together changes the way the brain reacts. When using a proper athletic mouthguard, your brain will be better able to handle temperature regulation as well as stress.

Bite Appliances Conclusion

Bite appliance therapy has been around for quite some time but recent advances (in both technology and theory) have made the treatments even more effective than before. A small investment in a good bite appliance can make the world of difference in the health and well being of your teeth for the rest of your life.