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Nasser Antonious, DDS, MAGD, FICOI
Master of the Academy of General Dentistry
Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists

Gum Disease-Gingivitis and Periodontitis-Sunnyvale Dental Care
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Gum Disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)





Gum Disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)

Q: How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
A: 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. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.

Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
  • Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
  • Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives.  Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva,
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
  • Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.
  • Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis.  Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

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

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

Q: If periodontal disease is such a problem, why doesn't it hurt?
A: This is, unfortunately, a very good question. Periodontal problems can become quite serious and extremely advanced without any pain whatsoever. That is why it is so important to be attentive to the warning signs - bleeding gums when brushing and flossing, swollen gums, receded gums, teeth changing position, pus or swelling around gums - to name a few.

Q: Is gum surgery essential if I have periodontal (gum) disease?
A: We have found, many times, surgery is not necessary following a conservative course of periodontal treatment. This type of care typically includes a series of nonsurgical gum treatments. Even when surgery is required, it often is needed only in a few areas of the mouth and results can be greatly enhanced by nonsurgical preparation.

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Nasser Antonious DDS is licensed as a general dentist in California. Sunnyvale Dental Care established since 1995
Sunnyvale dentist, Nasser Antonious DDS welcomes new patients from all areas including Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell, San Jose, Saratoga, Los Altos, and Los Gatos
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