Periodontal Disease

Wedgewood Dental

Linda K. Westmoreland , DDS

Cosmetic & General Dentistry located in Rolla, MO & Salem, MO

Around 24 million Americans have lost at least six teeth due to tooth decay or periodontal disease. Linda K. Westmoreland, DDS, of Wedgewood Dental has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, helping you prevent tooth loss and promote better oral health. For a consultation regarding any symptoms of gum disease, call or book an appointment online with her office in Rolla, Missouri.

Periodontal Disease Q & A

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease — also called gum disease — refers to an infection of the gums that often goes untreated. This gum infection can have little or no symptoms until it’s advanced to the point where it can cause bone damage and tooth loss.

Periodontal disease involves two conditions:


Gingivitis happens when the gums are infected by bacteria accumulated in tartar, the hardened material that starts out as plaque on the teeth. Usually, symptoms are very mild or unnoticeable.


Periodontitis happens when gingivitis expands past the gums and into the bone beneath the teeth. Symptoms may not be notable until the disease is advanced.

If left untreated, periodontal disease causes progressive bone loss, causing teeth to fall out and creating a high risk for severe, systemic infection.

What are symptoms of periodontal disease?

Initially, symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and easy to ignore. It’s important to pay attention to symptoms that may indicate you have an infection in your gums, such as:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Receding gums
  • Change to space between teeth
  • Painful or swollen gums
  • Unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Sensitivity to acidic foods
  • Abscesses

If you have these symptoms, it’s important that you get treatment. Often, initial stages of periodontal disease can be treated with careful attention to oral hygiene and regular checkups.

What causes periodontal disease?

Essentially, periodontal disease is caused by the presence of bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth. If bacteria are not removed regularly, it can build up and cause infection. Lack of regular brushing and thorough oral care can cause the progression of this condition.

Other conditions can predispose you to getting periodontal disease, such as pregnancy or menopause, smoking, or poor nutrition. It’s important to know if you’re at higher risk so that you prevent gingivitis more effectively.

Dr. Westmoreland can help you identify both symptoms and factors that place you at higher risk of this condition.

What treatments are available for periodontal disease?

It’s easier to prevent periodontal disease than to treat it. To prevent and reverse gingivitis, it’s important to brush and floss daily and to seek regular dental check-ups.

If you have periodontitis, it may require extensive treatments such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Scaling
  • Root planing
  • Bone grafting
  • Laser therapy

In severe cases, oral surgery may be needed. These treatments help to recover damage that has been done by infection and prevent tooth loss and progression of the disease.

For a consultation about your periodontal disease, call or book an appointment online with Wedgewood Dental today.