What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a grave illness affecting the gums and bones that support the teeth. The inflammation passes through the gums and can penetrate the bone that holds the teeth in place. The symptoms include swollen and bleeding gums that can progress to a loose tooth or shifting teeth if left untreated. It is crucial to seek treatment for periodontitis as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.

While gingivitiscan be cured by adopting proper oral care and regular dental cleaning visits, periodontitis is a more advanced form of gum disease that is challenging to heal entirely. However, treatment can often help stop the disease's progression. As periodontitis becomes more severe, it can cause tooth mobility and eventual loss.

It is noteworthy that periodontal disease is one of the two major oral health issues, along with tooth decay. It is a common condition that can affect anyone. Guinness World Records recognizes it as the most common infectious disease, affecting around 80% of adults. Therefore, practicing good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care are essential to prevent and treat periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease often does not exhibit noticeable symptoms until it has progressed significantly. Painful chewing or difficulty chewing due to tooth mobility are advanced signs of the disease. As a dentist, it is disheartening to inform patients that their condition is too progressive to improve and their teeth must be extracted. However, seeking prompt dental care at the first signs of minor symptoms such as bleeding gums or bad breath can save your teeth. It is crucial to consult a dentist before it's too late to prevent further damage to your oral health.

In the worst-case scenario, you may need to have your teeth removed

Dental implant treatment may be necessary if you need to have teeth removed due to periodontal disease. The implant treatment involves placing an artificial tooth root, or implant body, directly into the jawbone. Implants provide a more stable bite than regular dentures and do not require the removal of adjacent teeth like dental bridges do.

While implant treatment is typically more expensive than bridges, many insurance companies cover the cost. Eating with your teeth is an enjoyable experience, and implants can help you regain this ability. Treating gum disease before pursuing orthodontics or cosmetic dental care is essential. Periodontitis weakens tooth support and can cause teeth to shift prematurely. A periodontist can provide the necessary treatment to address gum disease and prevent further complications.

With periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease, tooth support is weak, and tooth flare can occur prematurely. You must first see a periodontist and treat gum disease before engaging in orthodontics and cosmetic dental care if you have gum disease.

By the time you notice, it is often too late to prevent the horror of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease checklist

  • The swollen gums (red color).
  • Purplish red gums (healthy gums are light pink with no spots).
  • Bleeding from the gums (when brushing teeth, chewing apples, etc.).
  • My gums feel itchy.
  • When I feel sick, I feel like my teeth are floating.
  • Bad breath.
  • The mouth is sticky.
  • Pus comes out of the gums.
  • Loose teeth. Teeth sway or hard to bite.
  • Teeth look longer than before.
  • The gap between the teeth becomes larger.
  • Teeth alignment becomes off.
  • I haven't had a teeth cleaning for over a year.
  • Have a smoking habit.
  • Have or had diabetes.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis Treatment: A Comprehensive Overview

The cornerstone of treating gingivitis and periodontitis is removing plaque and tartar. This removal involves using specialized dental tools to remove buildup in the pockets between teeth (periodontal pockets) and gums that cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. In some cases, this treatment alone is enough to improve the condition. However, suppose the disease has progressed, or other factors are at play, such as the shape of the teeth or existing restorations. In that case, additional treatment may be necessary, including periodontal surgery.

Periodontal disease can progress differently in various parts of the mouth, making it essential to measure pocket depth and bleeding spots at each stage of treatment. Maintaining good oral hygiene is also crucial, as the disease can recur if not appropriately managed. Regular checkups and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health.

How to prevent periodontal disease

Establishing a daily oral hygiene routine is crucial to prevent periodontal disease. Brushing your teeth thoroughly and using dental floss to remove plaque between teeth is essential. The bacteria that cause tooth decay, known as Streptococcus mutans, produce acid that can dissolve teeth. Periodontal infections often involve anaerobic bacteria like Treponema denticola and Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Regular dental cleanings every six months help prevent gum disease and other oral problems such as tooth decay. Using fluoride toothpaste and limiting sugar intake can also help maintain oral health. Chewing xylitol gum can prevent tooth decay as well. Taking these preventative measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.


Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 419 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2022 who have achieved this prestigious honor.