Periodontal Inflammation

Periodontal (or gum) inflammation is a response of the body to the onslaught of bacterial toxins and acids underneath the gums. Various factors such as diabetes, smoking, genetics, etc. can change the severity of the body’s response to these bacterial products. Inflammation results in redness and swelling of the gums. The body will send a lot of immune cells to try to remove the irritating substances that are residing in the gums. This immune response is essential for the body to ward off infections, however, in a situation where the oral hygiene is not good, the inflammatory response becomes chronic and the body is not able to return to normal health. This causes the eventual breakdown of the bone that holds the teeth in place. Symptoms of periodontal inflammation include bleeding and red gums. More advanced cases lead to loosening of the teeth and pus exuding from the gums. The by-products of inflammation eventually overtake the body’s system of repair resulting in permanent damage. The only way to break this cycle is by performing meticulous oral hygiene (simple brushing and flossing) on a daily basis.


Periodontitis is a disease of the gums and causes a majority of the tooth loss in adults. The sad part is that over 90% of the cases are preventable. Periodontitis is caused by an interaction of bacteria which reside on the teeth and the body’s immune system. The bacteria adhere to the teeth by a sticky substance called dental plaque. The plaque protects the bacteria from antibodies in saliva, thus allowing the disease to progress. Simply by removing the dental plaque everyday would stop the disease dead in its tracks. Mild periodontitis is the first step past gingivitis, a reddening of the gums. It is marked by easily bleeding gums, especially when brushing the teeth. If good oral hygiene measures are initiated, many times the disease process can be reversed. Moderate periodontitis is accompanied by some bone loss. If caught at this time a procedure called scaling and root planing can be helpful in stopping the disease progression. From this point on, any bone damage is irreversible, so it is best to catch things as early as possible. Severe periodontitis is the point where the teeth will loosen and tooth loss can occur. These cases usually require surgery to give the sufferer access to all of the affected areas for the purposes of oral hygiene. Due to the irreversibility of the bone loss, it is always best to put the disease in check by daily home care and frequent professional checkups.

Scaling and Root Planing

A gum procedure called scaling and root planing has saved millions of teeth. Periodontitis (gum disease) attacks the bone that holds the teeth in place. If left unchecked, it will eventually lead to tooth loss. If the disease is detected in its early stage, scaling and root planing can be a big help in altering the course of the disease. Periodontitis is caused by an interaction between bacteria that reside on the teeth and the body’s immune system. If the bacteria is removed on a daily basis by brushing and flossing, the disease usually does not occur. However, if the home care is not good, the bacteria will wreak havoc.

Over time, the bacteria will calcify into a material called calculus (tartar). The calculus is very porous giving a safe haven to new bacteria, so even if flossing is started, it will not clean away the bacteria residing in the tartar. Scaling will remove these deposits from the teeth.

Root planing will smooth the roots and remove diseased cementum (the live covering on the root surface). Scaling and root planing will allow the body to heal the gums and give someone a fresh start. However, the disease will return if the daily home care is not done.