What is Periodontitis?


Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that can cause permanent bone or tooth loss when left untreated. Caused by poor oral hygiene, periodontitis is a preventable yet serious disease that can lead to lung and even heart disease. Here’s how you can prevent and treat periodontitis for better gum and tooth health.

What Is Periodontitis?

Usually caused by poor dental hygiene, periodontitis begins when bad bacteria proliferates in the mouth and causes a bacterial infection. This forms plaque that sticks to the gums and teeth and eventually becomes tartar—a much harder to remove substance that is often the consistency of rock.

Tartar and plaque buildup can cause severe inflammation of the gums (known as gingivitis) which can erode the alveolar bones that support the teeth leading to periodontitis. With periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth forming large pockets of space which can collect harmful bacteria. The patient’s immune system then attacks that bacteria as plaque spreads below the gum line weakening the connective tissue that holds teeth in place and resulting in loose teeth or even tooth loss.

What Are The Symptoms Of Periodontitis?

With the exception of chronic or aggressive periodontitis (which can be caused by genetic or immune disorders), most cases of periodontitis are preventable. Good hygiene measures can be taken to prevent the spread of plaque and tartar long before periodontal disease sets in.

Periodontitis is usually preceded by red, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, gingivitis, gum recession, abscesses, or loose teeth. If you start to notice any or all of the above symptoms, schedule a checkup with your dental provider.

What Is The Treatment For Periodontitis?

The best treatment of periodontitis is preventing it. Because periodontitis is associated with a specific kind of bacterial overgrowth, and the body’s inflammatory response can only occur in response to that bacteria, the best offense is a good defense.

Once the infection has developed, professional treatment can help slow the progression of it, maintain any remaining periodontal tissue, and even restore some of the supporting structures through intensive cleaning, antibiotics, and surgery to repair any pockets that may remain after cleaning.

In either case, preventing periodontitis can be done by eliminating irritants such as sugar and cigarettes and maintaining good hygiene practices. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss, drink plenty of water, and get dental checkups every six months to keep your mouth healthy and happy! Contact Dr. Dondo today to schedule your next cleaning.


Dr. Dondo provides general and cosmetic dentistry in Bend, Oregon. With everything you need to perfect your teeth, bite, gums, and smile, our goal is to provide a pleasant and comfortable experience for all of our patients. Schedule your appointment today.

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