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Periodontal Disease

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that supports the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film made of food debris, bacteria and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, which results in periodontal disease, characterized by red, swollen and bleeding gums.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases including; stroke, bacterial pneumonia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining whether inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.


In recognizing that it is BIOFILM (matrix of bacteria) that is the main culprit in causing periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and bone loss, sometimes it may be necessary to include a localized application of an antibiotic to our treatment regimen. Arestin has been well proven as a good adjunct to scaling and root planing for the reduction of pockets and inflammation. Arestin is minocycline HCl, and available in microspheres, it is a very low dose, therefore does not cause drug resistance. The application is an extremely easy procedure, without local anaesthetic. It is contraindicated in patients with a known allergy, or sensitivity to minocycline or tetracycline, as well as in pregnant women, children, or those patients predisposed to oral candidiasis or are immunocompromised.


Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions to improve your daily oral hygiene habits and have regular dental cleanings.