What is Periodontal Disease?
The word "periodontal" means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease (also known as "gum disease," "pyorrhea" or "periodontal infection") is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to an inflammation under the gums, and if not treated, this inflammation can destroy the bone around your teeth. This results in tooth loss. Approximately 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.
More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke (see the "The Consequences of Periodontal Disease" section). As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance is essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.
What is an "Ongoing Infection"?
Have you ever gotten a sliver of wood caught under the skin of your hand? Because the wound is open to bacteria, the site may become infected and so appear red and inflamed. In time, your immune system fights off the bacteria and your hand heals.
During an ongoing infection , however, your immune system is unable to conquer the bacteria on its own and the pain and redness continue to worsen.
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection in the pockets around your teeth. You cannot fight off the infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site allowing the gum to heal as your hand had.
What Can Cause a "Burst" of Infection Activity?
People with periodontal disease have low resistance to periodontal bacteria. This causes an ongoing gum infection that grows in "bursts" of activity. Each time it grows, more support for your teeth is lost. Some factors that can cause a "burst" of activity are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dental plaque
- Genetic factors
- Stress or tension
Getting Periodontal Infection Treated Right Away
When your infection has a burst of activity, or when there are signs that this is about to occur, your general dentist may recommend you see a periodontist.
Symptoms of Periodontal Infection
Periodontal infection is usually painless until it reaches an advanced stage. However, there are some symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection.
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
- Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
- Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
- Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
- Bad breath
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
- Loose, separating or protruding teeth
- Spaces between teeth
If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.
Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can still be present. To be certain about any periodontal disease, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.
Who is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Many periodontists have also taken advanced training in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including 2 to 3 additional years of education beyond dental school.
- Professional, friendly and pain free!Denise Everhart –
- An absolutely fantastic environment, friendly staff, and amazing performance. Everything went smoothly and turned out great, would definitely recommend for...Stefanie Hinkaew
- I found everyone in Dr. Hoidal's office to be both friendly and professional. They explain things thoroughly and are all good listeners.Sherwood, OR
- Dr. Hoidal did a great job coordinating with my orthodontist. When my braces were removed, I received a prosthetic tooth from my dentist.Robert Siebens
- I was also impressed with his staff, from the front desk, the scheduler, the dental assistants. They too know what to do and how to do.Eric Schmidt
- A great experience, even though it was gum surgery. A wonderful staff, terrific doctor and a beautiful view to boot!Tammy Lawrence
- Dr.Hoidal and staff are amazing. Great experience!Heather Hedstrom Kanning
- Thank you to Dr. Hoidal and his staff for being open during the "snow apocalypse"!!! After calling multiple offices for two days, trying to find one open to...Pam C.
- Professional, friendly and pain free!Denise Everhart
- I was referred from Dr. Steven Darling to Dr. Matt Hoidal. Dr. Hoidal is pleasant to his patients. He will do the best he can for his patients as needed....Paula Rubio
- I found everyone in Dr. Hoidal's office to be both friendly and professional. They explain things thoroughly and are all good listeners.Sherwood, OR –
- Everything is now sound and the new bridge is on its way.At all times, I was very pleased with his approach, thoroughness of his diagnosis and plan, and his manner.Dick Raub
- I felt confident that my care was being provided by the best possible team. My gum graft went well and so did my recuperation time.Pat in Portland, OR –
- I felt confident that my care was being provided by the best possible team. My gum graft went well and so did my recuperation time.Pat
- We took our younger daughter in for a gum graph, and the whole team handled her with care and made us feel all at ease for a "scary procedure" for her. It...Whitney Bechtold
- Friendly and very professionalFred
- The entire staff were very friendly and Dr Hoidal was also just as nice. He has great bedside manner, easy to talk to and explained everything in detail. I...Katina A.
- They were friendly and professional with excellent care. They made a scary event so much better. Being born in the 40's dentist have not been my favorite people but you guys have changed my mind. Thank you.Diana Bergstrom
- Friendly reception, short waiting time, thorough exam and good explanation of processPaul Hathaway