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Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

Sometimes gingivitis progresses into a more serious condition called periodontal disease or periodontitis.  This happens when the inflamed gum tissue starts to detach from the tooth surface creating periodontal “pockets.”  As the gum tissue detaches, the plaque and bacteria move farther beneath the gum line making plaque removal more difficult.  Over time, the inflammation causes the jawbone to deteriorate weakening the foundation of the teeth.  Periodontal disease is not a reversible condition and requires treatment by a dental professional.


Periodontal disease is considered a multifactorial disease because there are several causes and contributing factors.  The following factors are commonly associated with the condition:

  • Bacteria and plaque

  • Genetics

  • Smoking

  • Clenching and grinding of the teeth

  • Crowded or poorly aligned teeth

  • Damaged or poorly fitting dental fillings and crowns

  • Medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes


Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and The Center For Disease Control has estimated that over half of the population suffers from the condition to some degree.  The disease often goes undetected because it is generally not a painful condition.  Symptoms such as loose teeth, abscesses, and bad breath often don’t show up until the disease has become severe.  That’s why it is important to get regular checkups with your dentist or periodontist especially if you have family members that lost teeth at an early age.  It is also important to remember that once you have been diagnosed or treated for periodontal disease you will always be at risk for the condition returning.  Regular cleanings and checkups are especially important for patients with a history of the disease. 


Treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease often starts with your general dentist.  You may be referred to a periodontist if the initial treatment does not stabilize the condition or your condition is already more advanced.  You may always ask to be referred to a specialist if you have additional questions or concerns about your oral health.  Dr. Laborde will work closely with your general dentist to ensure that all your dental needs are met.  

X-ray showing bone loss from periodontal disease
Gingivitis of front teeth


Gingivitis is a condition caused by bacteria and plaque on the surfaces of the teeth.  It causes the gum tissue to become inflamed, red and swollen.  Patients that have gingivitis often notice that their gum bleeds easily during brushing or flossing.  This is often the result of improper or inadequate oral hygiene.  Gingivitis is a reversible condition and generally improves with proper oral hygiene and dental cleanings.

Periodontal disease diagram
Gingivitis of front teeth
Periodontal Disease Diagram
X-ray showing bone loss from periodontal disease
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