Understanding the Importance of Periodontal Care

A smiling, elderly couple.Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is one of the most common dental problems among adults. Although regular brushing and flossing help prevent bacteria and plaque buildup, both of which can cause gum disease, there are other factors that can impact the health of your gums as well. These include heredity, stress, nutrition, smoking, and bruxism (grinding or clenching your teeth). This is one of the reasons that we recommend you undergo routine periodontal care at our Wilmington, DE, dental office. To effectively treat gum disease before it happens, professional care is needed. Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Emmi, Dr. Laura Dougherty, or Dr. Jeffrey Bartoshesky today.

The Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease

Although gum disease does not always present symptoms, there are a number of warning signs that you should look out for:

  • Your gums bleed when you brush and floss, and even when you eat
  • Your teeth look longer because the gums are starting to pull away from your teeth
  • Your gums cause you pain or discomfort
  • Your gums look red and inflamed
  • You have chronic bad breath, or halitosis, that nothing seems to alleviate

If you have experienced any of these issues, we strongly encourage you to seek out dental care. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which can significantly impact your dental health and function. Don't let this often preventable disease advance to a severe stage.

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

There are two main stages of periodontal disease, and the first stage is gingivitis. This stage only impacts the gums, so it is much easier to treat. With gingivitis, red, swollen, bleeding gums are present. If it is not treated, gingivitis may lead to the next stage of periodontal disease, which is periodontitis.

Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease. When present, pockets or spaces begin to form between the teeth and the gums as a result of bacterial infection. This causes a breakdown or destruction of the bone support. As time goes on, the pocket depth increases and the situation worsens, eventually leading to the loss of the affected tooth or teeth.

If periodontitis is allowed to develop, patients often require surgical treatment, such as flap surgery, pocket reduction surgery, bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, or even bone surgery. Furthermore, teeth that fall out or require extraction as a result of periodontitis will have to be replaced with dental implants or dental bridges.

Dealing with Gum Disease through Prevention

There are options for treating gum disease. Depending on how far it has progressed, surgery may not be necessary. At our practice, we emphasize periodontal maintenance and preventive care. Just as you should have your teeth cleaned regularly, you should undergo periodontal maintenance on a routine basis as well. Remember, the teeth are supported by the gums, and without healthy gums, you cannot maintain healthy teeth.

Periodontal care for early onset gum disease usually includes scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the area between the gums and along the teeth is thoroughly cleaned. This prevents bacteria from building up and enables the dentist to remove any diseased gum tissue. If we believe that this treatment is necessary after conducting a thorough evaluation of your teeth and gums, we will let you know. Our first priority is your dental health.

Video: Dental Health & Overall Health


Overall health is greatly affected by dental health. Smile Solutions in Wilmington offers dental health screenings for early diagnosis of dental health problems and solutions to stop and repair damage. Patients can receive cancer screenings, or dental clearance for other purposes from Dr. Emmi.

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Let Us Keep Your Gums Healthy

If you think you might be experiencing the early stages of gum disease, or if you already suffer from the condition, don’t put off a trip to the dentist. Contact us today for an appointment so our team can make sure you and your gums stay healthy.

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