What is Periodontal Disease? Part One

woman having tooth ache

If your dentist has told you that you have periodontal or gum disease, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. According to recent studies, approximately 80 percent of American adults have some form of the gum disease. While this condition can start as simple gum inflammation, it may lead to serious damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. In the worst cases, teeth can even be lost. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the details of periodontal disease and we’ll look at a few treatment options as well.

Gentle Care Dentists in Arlington is proud to be a leading provider of family dentistry and cosmetic dental procedures throughout Virginia. Our staff also specializes in periodontal treatments, implant surgery, and cosmetic gum surgery. If you’re looking for a professional dentist, contact our experienced dental team today!

The Basics of Periodontal Disease

If you suffer from swollen or bleeding gums, this is often a sign that your gums have become infected with bacteria. If no action is taken to remedy this issue, the infection can spread and destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone. Without proper care, your teeth will eventually become so loose that they will have to be extracted by a professional. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, and this can include the gums. Let’s look at a few common periodontal issues below.


Smiling woman at dentist

The longer you let plaque and tartar sit on your teeth, the more harm they can do to your mouth. When bacteria sits for long periods of time, it can cause inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. If you suffer from gingivitis, your gums can become red and swollen and they can bleed easily. Luckily, this mild form of gum disease can often be reversed with the help of daily brushing and flossing. Regular cleanings by a dentist can help with this as well.


When gingivitis is not treated properly, it can advance to periodontitis, which means “inflammation around the tooth.” In periodontitis, your gums pull away from your teeth and form “pockets” that can become infected. As plaque starts to spread and grow below your gum line, your body’s immune system will try to fight the bacteria by itself. When your body tries to fight off these bacterial toxins, it can actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, your bones, gums, and connective tissue will eventually be destroyed.

In part two of this series, we’ll take a look at risk factors for periodontal disease as well as tips to prevent it. If you live near Arlington and you’re looking for a friendly team of dental hygienists, contact Gentle Care Dentists today. We specialize in general family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, and more, and we would love to help you with your oral health needs. If you’re interested in learning more about our practice, check out our testimonials online or contact us today!

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