What Is Periodontitis?

What Is Periodontitis?

Posted by STONEGATE FAMILY DENTISTRY on Aug 18 2020, 04:01 AM

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a serious and progressive gum disease characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It is caused by the long-term effects of plaque buildup, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gumline. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to irreversible damage to the gums, bone, and other structures that support the teeth, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.

Periodontitis typically develops from untreated gingivitis, a milder form of gum disease that causes inflammation of the gums (gingiva) without loss of bone or tissue. When plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) accumulate along the gumline, they can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to gingivitis. If gingivitis is not addressed through proper oral hygiene and professional dental care, it can progress to periodontitis.

Dr. Rachel Erwin at Stonegate Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is an expert in treating periodontitis. This blog discusses the causes, symptoms, and prevention of periodontitis.

Causes of Periodontitis

Periodontitis begins with gingivitis, an inflammation in the gums. Once the inflammation spreads to the roots and underneath the gum line, it causes permanent damage to the tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. 

Much like other dental diseases, periodontitis happens because of plaque formation. Plaque can be removed efficiently by maintaining good oral hygiene that includes regular brushing and flossing. If ignored, plaque will harden to form tartar which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.

The plaque spreads to the roots of the teeth, weakening the gums and causing gingivitis. If left untreated, it eventually creates a gap between the tooth and the gum which fosters bacterial growth. This chronic infection will also affect your immune system.

Factors such as smoking, medicines that cause dry mouth, inadequate nutrition, and drug usage can increase the risk of periodontitis. Call us to learn more.


Periodontitis always starts with gum inflammation. Remember that healthy gums are pale pink, firm, and fit adequately around the teeth. If there is inflammation, your gums might appear red and swollen. A layer of plaque will also be present. 

Some common symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain while chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth appear longer than normal


While periodontitis is common, it is also preventable. If it is detected and treated early, recovery is possible. By maintaining good regular oral hygiene, you can avoid getting periodontitis. 

  • Good dental hygiene habits include:
  • Brushing your teeth twice every day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Using mouthwash to prevent plaque formation

Regular checkups (at least twice a year) with your dentist in Murfreesboro TN are also imperative for maintaining good dental health. Gum inflammation is easy to spot by an experienced dentist in 37129. If you feel any discomfort in your gums or experience bleeding, immediately visit your dentist. 

Treatment for periodontitis typically involves professional dental cleaning (scaling and root planing) to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from beneath the gumline. In some cases, additional treatments such as antibiotic therapy, surgical procedures (like flap surgery or bone grafting), or regenerative techniques may be necessary to restore gum health and prevent further damage. It's essential to seek timely treatment for periodontitis to prevent complications and preserve oral health. Regular dental visits, proper oral hygiene practices, and lifestyle modifications can help prevent and manage periodontal disease.

For more information on periodontitis and its risk to your dental health, call (615) 624-6919 to schedule an appointment at Stonegate Family Dentistry. You can also directly visit our dental office at 206 A N Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 for a comprehensive consultation.

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206 A N Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, TN 37129

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