Gum Disease and You

Gum DiseaseGum disease is something you don’t want any part of. If allowed to progress it can result in the loss of teeth and the deterioration of your jawbone. Because it sneaks up gradually, many people don’t know they have it.

Gum disease, clinically called periodontitis or periodontal disease, affects the periodontum, the structures that support the teeth. These are the gums (gingival), cementum (calcified covering over a tooth root), periodontal ligaments (attach a tooth to the bone), and the alveolar (jawbone) with tooth sockets.

Gum disease and the problems it creates can usually be prevented by simple, effective home dental hygiene. But if periodontitis does take hold, it’s time to call Dr. Marshall.

The beginnings of gum disease

Gum disease starts innocently enough with a condition known as gingivitis. This is a fancy word for gum irritation. Gingivitis is usually caused by bacteria in plaque that find a home in the space between the teeth and the gums. Once there, the bacteria damage both important structures. If addressed at this point, the effects of gingivitis are fully reversible. If not, the bacterial damage extends below the gumline and begins to damage the tooth roots, and later moves into the jawbone.

Periodontitis has three stages:

  • Chronic periodontitis — Inflammation is thoroughly established
  • Aggressive periodontitis — Infection is spreading quickly through the gum tissue
  • Necrotizing periodontal disease — Infection is entering the jawbone, causing significant pain, bleeding, and loss of gum tissue

Symptoms of gum disease

Gum disease progresses only if left untreated. The gums begin to recede, pulling away from the teeth and opening up pockets where bacteria can find a home, leading to infection. As the gums recede, the tooth roots become exposed to decay. There are some typical symptoms associated with gum disease:

  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Toothaches
  • Bad breath
  • Loose or shifting teeth


Dr. Marshall generally has to remove all decayed tissue, plaque, and tartar from your entire mouth. Lasers make removing necrotic gum tissue easier and less painful than options that were available just a decade ago. Treatment of periodontal disease usually takes a series of appointments.

If you have any of the above symptoms, this isn’t the time to mess around. Without treatment, the future of your gums, teeth, and jawbone are not good. Call Dr. Marshall at 610-649-0696 and let’s get started bringing your gums and teeth back to a more healthy state.

Posted in: Peridontics

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