Untreated Periodontal Disease Can Be a Problem | Periodontist in Alexandria

Waldorf Periodontist

Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums that damages the soft tissue between the teeth. If left untreated, this condition can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47.2% of adults aged 30 or older and 70.1% of adults aged 65 or older suffer from periodontal disease.

While periodontal disease is common, it is preventable through proper oral hygiene and treatment. By having regular dental checkups, you can prevent periodontal disease from affecting your oral health.

Are there any long-term effects of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis. The gum tissue might look red and swollen, causing bad breath. If left untreated, it can lead to mild to moderate periodontitis, characterized by infections and bleeding gums.

As periodontal disease progresses, tartar and bacteria get deeper into the gums and damage the bone and ligaments underneath. Eventually, this results in receding gums, bone damage, and tooth loss.

Periodontitis affects more than just your oral health. As bacteria and tartar grow in your mouth, they can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body, causing health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Periodontal disease should be treated before it negatively affects your overall health.

Common causes and risk factors

You are at a higher risk of gum disease if you have the following factors:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition, including a lack of vitamin C
  • Medication that causes dry mouth or affects the gums
  • Having a family history of periodontitis
  • Clenching and grinding your teeth on a regular basis
  • Tobacco use, whether smoking or chewing
  • Hormonal changes
  • Avoiding routine dental examinations and cleanings
  • Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, or kidney disease.
  • Cancer treatment, leukemia, and HIV/AIDS can decrease immunity.

Periodontal disease prevention tips

  • Brushing: Brushing your teeth after meals helps remove plaque and food particles that have accumulated between your teeth and gums. You should also brush your tongue, as food particles and bacteria can settle there. Make sure your toothbrush is soft-bristled.
  • Floss: Be sure to floss between your teeth and gums at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque.
  • Mouthwash Rinse: Rinse your mouth with mouthwash to keep it fresh and germ-free.
  • Diet: Sugary foods and drinks can cause your mouth to produce acids. Avoid sticky foods that promote bacterial growth.

It is recommended that you see your dentist at least twice a year. You should not wait more than six months between visits. They will examine your teeth, gums, bone structure, and any symptoms or risk factors associated with periodontal disease. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to reversing gum disease and preserving your oral health.

Periodontal disease does not have to lead to tooth loss. With the proper care, you can make them last a lifetime. Our Waldorf periodontist will create a treatment and care plan to treat any periodontal problems you may have. Contact our Impant Dentist in Waldorf office today to schedule an appointment.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
Url: https://drkarlsmith.com/
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302

Get to Know the 4 Stages of Periodontal Disease | Periodontist in Alexandria

20602 Periodontist

Keeping good oral health is as easy as daily brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups at the dentist, but many people believe that the worst consequence of letting oral health slide is a cavity or two. A cavity is indeed serious enough to require dental intervention, but it is only one of many negative outcomes. One of the worst is periodontal disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and other health problems.

What is periodontal disease?

When teeth and gums are not properly brushed and flossed, bacteria flourish, and plaque and tartar build-up create a serious gum infection. Gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease, can also be caused by smoking. Furthermore, medical conditions that reduce saliva flow, such as diabetes, pose a significant risk. Of the four stages of periodontal disease, only the first can be reversed—the rest will require advanced treatments with a periodontist.


Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup around the teeth, causing swelling and redness, bruising when you brush or floss, and bad breath. At this stage, the infection is mild and has not attacked the tooth root or bones, which means it can be reversed. It’s just a matter of brushing and flossing more thoroughly and getting a professional cleaning from your dentist. 

Early Periodontitis

Periodontal disease that progresses beyond gingivitis might not be reversible, but it can still be managed. By this stage, the infection has spread to the bone and is attacking bone tissues with stronger, more aggressive bacteria. An increase in swelling or redness of the gums and bleeding during brushing or flossing may indicate slight periodontal disease. This stage of the disease can be diagnosed by your dentist by probing the space between your gums and teeth. A depth of four to five millimeters indicates the presence of mild periodontal disease that will require specialized cleaning procedures.

Moderate Periodontitis

Symptoms of moderate periodontal disease are similar to those of slight periodontal disease, though probing depths are deeper, between six and seven millimeters. The deeper the pocket between your teeth and gums, the more bacteria attacks your teeth and jawbone. The bacteria can also enter your bloodstream and immune system at this stage. Stages 2 and 3 are treated in the same way through scaling and root planing, which are intense deep cleaning procedures that remove bacterial deposits below the gumline. 

Advanced Periodontitis

When you ignore the symptoms of earlier stages of periodontal disease, you will move on to stage 4, which threatens irreversible bone loss. Symptoms of this stage include red, swollen gums that ooze pus, painful chewing, extreme cold sensitivity, severe bad breath, and loose teeth. At this point, the only solutions are to undergo periodontal surgery or periodontal laser therapy, which will clean out the deep pockets of bacteria and allow the gums to heal.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease and the associated symptoms and complications is to brush and floss daily. However, if you do have symptoms of gum disease, you should see a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.

Our Waldorf Periodontist office specializes in treating issues related to gum disease. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
Url: https://drkarlsmith.com/
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302