Johnnie D. Gross, DDS
Family Laser Dental Center
(413) 267-5432
Call: (413) 267-5432

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.”  Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition that affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth.  If left untreated, it can cause shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. 

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults and should always be promptly treated. Research shows a connection between gum disease and serious health concerns. Oral bacteria entering the body through infected gum tissue can lead to health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, Alzheimer's disease, low birth weight babies and other chronic inflammatory conditions.


The World Health Organization reports that up to 85% of adults in the US have some form of gum disease. Unfortunately, most of these people are not aware of it. The symptoms of gum disease include:

  Bleeding gums

  Sensitive teeth

  Obvious plaque, tartar or calculus

  Persistent bad breath

  Swollen, red, or tender gums

  Receding gums

  Loose or mobile teeth


Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many nonsurgical treatments the dentist may recommend, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone.  The first step is a complete periodontal exam of the mouth.

Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:

  • Scaling and root planing – In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed.  The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. 

  • Perio Protect - This is a non-surgical treatment that utilizes a medical device called a Perio Tray that is custom-made for your mouth. The Perio Tray has a special seal that holds medications in the periodontal pocket for enough time to kill the bacteria causing the disease. This treatment provides a homecare maintenance program. The patient takes an active part in managing the disease.

  • Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures.  A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.

  • Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums.  Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.


    • Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.