Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Your mouth contains over 500 different microorganisms in a constant state of flux. Periodontal disease (or periodontitis) results from the unchecked proliferation of harmful forms of bacteria in the mouth. Various conditions and factors can lead to Periodontal Disease and, if untreated, Periodontal Disease can in turn lead to or complicate other conditions such as coronary artery disease, diabetes and cardiovascular strokes. Premature or low-weight births have also been traced to periodontal disease as a causative factor.

Some form or degree of periodontal disease has been estimated to be found in nearly two thirds of the US population.

A leading cause of adult tooth loss, when left untreated, periodontal disease causes yellow, discolored teeth, bad breath, bleeding or swollen gums, shifting teeth, sensitive teeth and painful chewing, general tooth decay, receding gum lines, exposed tooth roots, infections, abscesses and tooth loss.

In its early stages, symptoms of the disease can only be detected by a dental professional. Without frequent check-ups, you’re not likely to be aware periodontal disease has taken hold until the advanced stages of the disease have been reached.


Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gingiva (gums), characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. If left untreated gingivitis can lead to Periodontal Disease.

Treatment and Prevention

At Peter Michalos D.D.S., we perform periodontal screening exams, traditional preventative procedures as well as on-going therapeutical treatments for patients diagnosed with the disease.

The remedy used to arrest or prevent active periodontal disease is called Scaling & Root Planing. This therapy removes the build-up of the etiological agents (plaque and tartar) which cause inflammation and lead to periodontal disease. Dr. Michalos will determine the number and intensity of treatments required, based on the progression of the condition. 

It should be noted, the scaling and root planing procedure does not cure periodontal disease. But, the progression of the disease, like many other human afflictions (heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.), can be curbed and many of its damaging effects can be reversed by maintaining an ongoing schedule of treatments. 

Scaling & Root Planing Schedule

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease you should undergo a scaling and root planing procedure at least four times a year (since the harmful bacteria will repopulate your mouth in about three months).

Although similar to regular teeth cleaning, periodontal treatment visits take longer as the dental hygienist must devote greater attention  to affected areas in the mouth and below the gumline. But if you schedule regular treatments they will be be faster and easier to do as the build-up will only be three month’s old (unlike your first treatment, which may involve clearing out years’ of build-up.)