Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common yet serious condition that can lead to various dental issues if left untreated. The team of experts at Rainier Ave Dental is dedicated to providing comprehensive gum disease treatment in South Seattle, WA, to help you regain a healthy smile and improve your overall well-being.

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, involves inflammation and infection of the tissues supporting your teeth. While inadequate oral hygiene can contribute to its development, certain individuals may be more susceptible to this condition, even when practicing proper brushing and flossing.

Stages of Gum Disease

Having healthy gums means they are firm to the touch and free from bleeding or swelling. However, periodontal disease can bring about discolored (reddish or purplish), swollen, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to the deterioration of the underlying jawbone, potentially resulting in tooth loss.

The degradation of tissues around your teeth occurs gradually. Interestingly, many individuals don’t feel pain associated with gum disease, especially in its early stages. Therefore, recognizing the warning signs becomes crucial.

Gum disease progresses through four stages:

  • Gingivitis: This initial stage presents with red, swollen gums that may bleed during brushing or flossing. Fortunately, no bone loss occurs at this point, making gingivitis completely reversible with proper treatment.
  • Mild Periodontitis: At this stage, bacteria have penetrated beneath the gums, affecting the supporting bone. Gums may recede from the teeth, forming pockets where plaque and bacteria accumulate beyond the reach of regular brushing and flossing.
  • Moderate Periodontitis: Without intervention, bacteria start to deteriorate ligaments, soft tissues, and bones holding the teeth in place. Symptoms may include bad breath and the presence of pus (indicating infection) around the gum line. Some individuals experience pain during this stage.
  • Advanced Periodontitis: In the final stage, ongoing bone loss leads to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss as the severity of the periodontal disease progresses.

Causes and Symptoms of Gum Disease

What are the Various Causes of Gum Diseases

  • Plaque, formed by bacteria collecting on teeth after consuming sweet or starchy foods, is the primary cause of gum disease.
  • Insufficient brushing and flossing allow plaque to harden into tartar along the gumline, which traps more bacteria and worsens tooth damage.
  • Gingivitis initially manifests with irritated, red, and swollen gums that may bleed during brushing.
  • Prolonged gingivitis can lead to the formation of pockets between gums and teeth, becoming infected by bacteria, plaque, and tartar.
  • The infection deteriorates bone and connective tissue, potentially resulting in loose teeth and tooth loss.
  • Gum disease stands as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
  • Risk factors for gum disease include hormonal changes during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and menstruation, which heighten gum sensitivity and susceptibility to gingivitis.
  • Diseases like cancer, HIV, and diabetes increase infection risks, including periodontal disease.
  • Certain medications, such as those for seizures and angina, reduce saliva production, compromising tooth and gum protection.
  • Smoking impedes gum tissue repair processes, exacerbating gum disease.
  • Poor oral hygiene practices, including irregular brushing and flossing, contribute to gingivitis.
  • A family history of dental issues amplifies the likelihood of developing gum disease.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Red and swollen gums (ideally pink and firm)
  • Gum tenderness or pain
  • Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste
  • Discomfort while chewing
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Presence of pus between teeth
  • Receding gums, pulling away from teeth
  • Deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or falling teeth
  • Formation of black triangle spaces between teeth
  • Alterations in bite alignment

Gum Disease Diagnosis

During a routine dental examination, your dentist can identify signs of gum disease. They will inspect your teeth for the presence of plaque buildup and inquire about any symptoms you may be experiencing. If necessary, they may recommend a referral to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum conditions, for further assessment and care.

Using a specialized tool called a periodontal probe, the dentist or periodontist will measure the depth of the pockets surrounding your teeth. This measurement indicates the extent of bone loss around your teeth, with deeper pockets suggesting more advanced gum disease. Additionally, your periodontist will evaluate your bite, the mobility of your teeth, and the degree of gum recession.

Furthermore, dental X-rays will be taken to provide detailed images of any areas of bone loss. By examining these images, the dentist or periodontist can assess the progression of gum disease and monitor changes in bone structure over time, comparing them to previous X-rays if available.

Gum Disease Treatment in South Seattle, WA

Dental cleaning and Improved Oral Hygiene

Early detection and proactive care are key to managing periodontal disease, commonly known as gingivitis. Through routine dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene practices, individuals with early-stage gum disease can reverse its progression before it leads to irreversible damage. At this stage, when bone loss hasn’t occurred yet, diligent oral care can eliminate harmful oral bacteria, halting the disease in its tracks.

Effective oral hygiene involves a combination of daily brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for comprehensive exams and professional cleanings. This routine upkeep ensures the removal of plaque and bacteria, preventing the advancement of gum disease.

Scaling and Root Planing

For individuals with mild gum disease, periodontists recommend scaling and root planing, a procedure similar to routine dental cleaning but with a deeper reach beneath the gums. This treatment targets plaque and bacteria accumulation in areas inaccessible to regular brushing and flossing.

During the procedure, a dental hygienist meticulously scales away plaque from the teeth’s surface and smooths out the root surfaces to prevent bacterial reattachment. Typically performed over two or more visits under local anesthesia, scaling and root planing effectively curtail the progression of gum disease.

Pocket Reduction Surgery

Moderate to advanced gum disease may necessitate pocket reduction surgery, also known as osseous surgery. This procedure aims to address plaque and tartar buildup deep under the gumline, beyond the reach of routine cleaning. A periodontist begins by making an incision in the gums to create a flap, providing access to the tooth roots.

Subsequently, they meticulously remove the plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the root surfaces and smoothen any rough areas. Following this, the gums are repositioned, and the incision is closed with stitches. Often, pocket reduction surgery is complemented with additional regenerative techniques such as bone grafting or gum grafting to restore optimal oral health.

Bone Grafting

In cases where bone loss has occurred due to gum disease, a dental bone graft may be recommended by your periodontist. After clearing the infection, bone grafting material is placed in the areas where bone erosion has transpired. This material acts as a scaffold, providing support and facilitating the body’s natural bone regeneration process over time.

Gum Grafting

Gum recession resulting from periodontal disease may necessitate gum graft surgery, also known as tissue grafting. This procedure involves adding tissue to areas where gum recession has occurred, typically sourced from the roof of the mouth or a tissue bank. Gum grafting restores gum health and enhances oral aesthetics by covering exposed tooth roots and augmenting gum thickness.

At Rainier Ave Dental, our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive periodontal care tailored to your individual needs. Whether through routine cleaning or advanced surgical interventions, we are committed to helping you achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about our periodontal treatment options.

Book Your Appointment with Rainier Ave Dental Today!

Don’t let gum disease compromise your oral health and quality of life. Schedule a consultation with Rainier Ave Dental today to learn more about our comprehensive gum disease treatment options in South Seattle, WA. Our friendly team is here to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. Contact us now to get started!


Can I prevent periodontal disease?

Certainly, maintaining consistent and proper oral hygiene is usually effective in preventing gum disease for most individuals. However, some people may have a higher susceptibility to gum disease due to genetic factors or underlying health conditions. In such cases, it may be necessary to schedule more frequent cleanings with your dental hygienist to manage and reduce the risk of gum disease.

How long can you keep your teeth with periodontal disease?

The timeline for treatment varies based on the severity of your condition. Since every individual is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, as a general rule, addressing gum disease promptly typically reduces the risk of tooth loss.

Is gingivitis a serious problem?

The positive news is that early intervention can effectively reverse gingivitis. However, if left unaddressed, gingivitis has the potential to escalate into severe gum disease. Detecting and addressing the problem at its onset can not only save you considerable time, anxiety, and financial resources down the line but also preserve your oral health in the long term.