What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, happens when the soft tissue of the gums becomes infected. Plaque and bacterial buildup can cause the gums to become irritated and inflamed, causing redness, swelling and bleeding. As the disease spreads, it develops into periodontitis, causing the soft tissue to pull away from the surface of the enamel. This can cause bone loss and compromise the supporting structure for the teeth. If the bone loss progresses, the teeth can loosen and fall out. Along with tooth decay, periodontal disease is a leading threat to dental health. However, Chevy Chase Dental Center provides effective, modern treatments with our periodontal laser technology. Plan an appointment today by calling 202-362-3353 and come in for periodontal treatment in Washington, DC.

Causes of Periodontitis

Without regular cleanings, bacteria in the mouth can start to collect on the teeth and infect the surrounding gum tissue. When the bacteria is left on the tooth, it can develop into plaque. This film can harden into tartar, which sticks and spreads underneath the gumline. This can infect the soft tissue and make the teeth difficult to clean. The tartar will need to be removed professionally by our dentists.

Warning Signs

  • Halitosis (bad breath) or a persistent bad taste in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums and tenderness
  • Swelling or reddened gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful and difficult chewing
  • Gum recession
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together


Risk Factors

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Poor at-home care
  • Orthodontic problems
  • Diabetes
  • Some medications
  • Hereditary risk