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Periodontal Disease Advice from Our Vancouver Dentists

If your gums are tender and red, or if flossing causes your gums to swell and bleed, you may be suffering from periodontal disease (gum disease).

Periodontal disease is caused by an excessive build-up of bacterial plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, saliva, and bacteria. As the plaque hardens, toxins are released from the bacteria causing the gums (soft tissue) to become irritated. The soft tissues around the teeth become increasingly damaged with the progression of the disease, as does the hard tissue, or bone, that supports the teeth.

A significant portion of the adult population have periodontal disease and don't know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.

  • Nearly 70 percent of adult tooth loss can be attributed to gum disease and research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.. Good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease or stopping it if you are already suffering from some of the following symptoms:
    • Pus around the teeth and gums
    • Receding gums
    • Loose teeth
    • New spacing between teeth

Part of your regular check-up at the Vancouver office is a periodontal examination performed by your Dentist or Registered Dental Hygienist. They will use a special periodontal probe to gently measure the pockets between each of your teeth and gums. Healthy pockets are 3mm or less in depth and do not bleed. Pockets that bleed or are deeper than 3mm indicate the presence and extent of periodontal disease.

Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, and tooth movement to make a periodontic diagnosis that will fall in to one of the following categories:

Healthy Gums

Healthy gums are pink with pocket depths of 3mm or less and no bleeding. There will be no indication of bone loss or unusual tooth mobility.


Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and bacterial toxins will have started to irritate the gums, making them red, swollen, tender and likely to bleed.


Untreated gingivitis leads to the accumulation of calculus (hardened plaque) on the teeth. As calculus and plaque build up, the gums get even more irritated and begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and create even more areas in your mouth where bacteria can hide and continue to make toxic by-products. The gums become irritated, and begin to show the signs of infection, including inflammation, bleeding, swelling and pus. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

Untreated perio results in the continued loss of gum tissue, bone, and the periodontal ligaments that attach your teeth to your bones. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost.


After your perio exam your Dentist and Dental Hygienist will recommend the appropriate treatment depending on the type and severity of periodontal disease you may have.

If you do not have perio disease we recommend that you maintain your good oral health with your regular cleanings every six month's. If you are in the early stages of gingivitis we will recommend cleanings on a more accelerated schedule and give you specific instructions on what you should do at home to quickly get back to good oral health. If your perio disease is more advanced you may need a procedure called scaling and root planning. This procedure removes tartar, plaque, and toxins from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). At NewLeaf Dental Care we use advanced dental laser technology for many perio procedures. These procedures help gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and electric tooth brushes may be recommended to help control infection and promote healing.