What Is Periodontal Disease?

You might need periodontal therapy if you have periodontal disease, informally referred to as gum disease, is a systemic infection that can damage the soft tissues, bone, and supporting structures of your mouth when left unaddressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one-half of Americans over the age of thirty are suffering from some form of periodontal disease.

Oral hygiene is one factor in periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene allows oral bacteria to proliferate on the teeth and within the gum pockets of your mouth. Diet can also influence the proliferation of oral bacteria. People who live together also tend to share oral bacteria–even if they’re not sharing eating utensils or a toothbrush–so your family, romantic partners, and even roommates can influence the types of oral bacteria you have.

Your body’s immune system recognizes this overabundance of bacteria as an infection and causes inflammation as part of its immune response. Many of the symptoms of gum disease are related to your immune response, not the infection, and your genes influence this immune response.

We typically divide periodontal disease into gingivitis, a relatively minor form, and periodontitis, a more serious form that’s related to bone and tooth loss. Many people have gingivitis for years and never develop periodontitis. Other people rapidly develop periodontitis.
If you have a family history of periodontitis, you are at an increased risk because your family influences both the types of bacteria in your mouth and your body’s response to that bacteria.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease symptoms can start out subtly. People may not even recognize that these symptoms are not normal until the disease becomes serious.

Watch for symptoms like:

  • Consistent bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Sensitive gums
  • Red, Swollen gums
  • Blood when brushing and flossing
  • Consistent bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Sensitive gums
  • Red, Swollen gums
  • Blood when brushing and flossing

If left untreated, gum disease can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and lung infections. The good news is that with excellent oral hygiene, gum disease is generally preventable and reversible.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease

With non-surgical periodontal therapy the objective of non-surgical gum disease treatment is to remove the built-up bacteria from the gum pockets and stop the progression of any further damage to the soft tissue, bone, and supporting structures within your mouth without surgical intervention.

Root Planing and Scaling

The purpose of root planing and scaling is to remove plaque, tartar, and calculus that has built up beneath the gum line in the gum pockets. Scaling utilizes ultrasonic and specialized hand tools to perform debridement and cleaning beneath the gum line. Root planing smooths the rough patches on the roots of your teeth that harbor bacteria, making cleaning easier and reducing the areas where bacteria can thrive. We can also use Waterlase for fast, accurate removal of tartar and damaged bone.

Maintenance Cleanings

After root planing and scaling, a course of periodontal maintenance cleanings may be necessary to continue to make progress on the benefits gained. These cleanings are a deeper and more comprehensive cleaning than you would receive from your general dentist’s office. Plaque and tartar are removed both above and below the gum line, and you are monitored for the return of inflammation or other symptoms of periodontal disease.

Antibiotic Treatment

Topical antibiotics are frequently utilized after root planing and scaling treatment to help fight localized infection. These are applied either directly to or just beneath the gum line at the conclusion of the therapy. For severe or acute infections, a short-term course of oral antibiotics may be prescribed to aid in combating the build-up of bacteria.

At-home Oral Health Maintenance

A patient’s follow-through and commitment are vital to the successful treatment of periodontal disease. The PermaDent team will work with you to develop a sustainable and effective at-home oral health routine. Periodontal disease is a chronic and long-term disease, if the patient fails to maintain good oral health practices, periodontal disease can return.

Surgical Periodontal Disease Treatment Options

If non-surgical periodontal treatment options have failed to resolve your periodontal disease or will be insufficient, there are surgical options to help you truly heal your periodontal disease. These surgical options are typically reserved for more severe or complicated cases of periodontal disease.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting protects the roots of teeth that have become exposed due to periodontal disease. Exposed roots can cause tooth sensitivity and make the tooth more prone to decay, infection, and discoloration. Typically, there are two types of gingival or “gum” grafts completed at PermaDent:

Autogenous: Uses your own connective tissue harvested from the palate as the source material for the graft.

Non-autogenous: Uses a donor tissue for the graft.

The expert periodontal surgeons at PermaDent will work with you to determine what type of graft is best for you, your health, and the desired health outcome. Our specialists are experts in grafting procedures and can complete even complex cases with ease.

Pocket Reduction Surgery

Also referred to as osseous surgery, this procedure involves exposing the bone beneath your gum line and allowing the surgeon to reshape and remove bone that has been damaged by periodontal disease. It also provides the benefit of accommodating an extremely deep cleaning of the impacted areas. The purpose of pocket reduction surgery is to turn deep gum pockets into shallow pockets and make routine oral hygiene and maintenance easier. Waterlase helps make this procedure faster and more accurate.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a procedure that allows for the guided regeneration of bone at the site of bone loss due to infection, tooth loss, or other complications. Bone grafts are frequently completed as part of another procedure, such as a tooth extraction, dental implant placement, or pocket reduction surgery. This procedure utilizes a graft material and protective membrane to stimulate your body to create new bone at the site of loss or damage.

Peri-Implantitis Treatment

When a dental implant becomes infected, the infection is called peri-implantitis. While minor cases may be resolved with a deep cleaning around the implant, more severe cases may require surgical intervention in which the area around the implant is cleaned and disinfected. In the most severe cases, the dental implant may need to be removed to allow for the infected area to be disinfected and correctly treated.


A biopsy is a diagnostic procedure, typically following the discovery of abnormal tissues, during which your oral surgeon removes either a sample of oral tissue or an entire area of suspect tissue for examination by a qualified pathologist. This procedure allows for early detection and treatment of any malignant growths.

Why Choose PermaDent for Periodontal Treatment

At PermaDent, our specialists are at the top of their fields and are committed to providing you the education necessary to make informed decisions about your oral health every step of the way. Our state-of-the-art suite of diagnostic testing allows us to swiftly diagnose your issues and provide you with a truly personalized treatment plan in a single office visit. We never compromise when it comes to your comfort and confidence in your care. If you’re ready to finally take charge of your oral health and understand the why behind the issues you’ve been facing, call our dental implant center today at (310) 325-9969. Or book an appointment through our online form.