Periodontal Treatment Specialist

Chao Dental Studio

Patricia Chao, DDS

Dentist located in Santa Clara, CA

Periodontitis, a serious gum infection, is an incredibly common dental problem. In fact, dentists in the United States treat more than three million cases a year. Patricia Chao, DDS, wants you to know that periodontitis is highly preventable and treatable with regular dental care at Chao Dental Studio in Santa Clara, California. Dr. Chao continues the tradition of exceptional dental care established by Luann Plummer, DDS, over the past three decades. If you have mouth pain or swelling, call or click to schedule your oral exam as soon as possible. With proactive preventive care, periodontitis doesn’t have to dim your smile.

Periodontal Treatment Q & A

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a serious infection of the gums that, over time, destroys the soft tissue and bone supporting your teeth. Without professional dental care, periodontitis can eventually loosen your teeth and even cause them to fall out.

With regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, periodontitis is largely preventable or treatable. There are a few different types of periodontitis. The most common forms are:

  • Chronic periodontitis: This is caused by plaque buildup and is most common in adults
  • Aggressive periodontitis: This form often appears in children and young adults and tends to progress more quickly than other types of gum disease

Periodontitis is primarily caused by plaque, a sticky substance containing bacteria. Plaque forms when starches and sugars interact with normal mouth bacteria. Plaque that isn’t removed with brushing or flossing remains on the teeth and hardens into tartar.

Professional dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar. Without frequent professional dental cleanings, a mild form of periodontitis called gingivitis can develop. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis without treatment, which eventually causes tissue and bone loss.

What are the signs of periodontitis?

In children and adults, healthy gums hug the teeth snuggly and appear pale pink. Some of the signs that periodontitis has damaged gums include:

  • Bad breath
  • Gaps that develop between teeth
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain while chewing
  • Puffy, swollen gums
  • Red or purplish gums
  • Receding gums
  • Shifting teeth
  • Tender gums

How is periodontitis treated?

Prevention is the best defense against serious gum infection. Good oral hygiene, including brushing for at least two minutes twice a day and daily flossing, is essential. Regular dental visits with Dr. Chao and her team are the next best tool for keeping your gums and teeth healthy.

To determine if you have gum infection or disease, Dr. Chao reviews your medical history for certain risk factors for gum problems, examines your mouth for plaque and tartar buildup, and measures the pocket depth between your gums and teeth. She also looks at your dental X-rays for areas of bone loss.

If Dr. Chao discovers gingivitis or periodontitis, she may recommend more frequent cleanings. In some severe cases, surgery to remove damaged gum tissue and reshape remaining tissue may be necessary.

For a full dental exam, including a gum health assessment, call Chao Dental Studio or book an appointment online today.