R. Craig Ford D.D.S. • 5300 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Woodland Hills, CA 91364 • 818.888.6302

About Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means “around the tooth” and refers to all the disease of the periodontium.  This means that periodontal disease is any pathological state that involves the supporting tissues and jaw bone of the dentition; your teeth.  Periodontal disease attacks the gums, the supporting ligaments that hold the tooth into the bone, and the jaw bone itself.  The bacteria responsible for this destruction is known as Plaque; newly named, Plaque Biofilm.   This group of bacteria is a sticky film of food debris, many kinds of bacteria, and saliva.  If plaque biofilm is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar).  When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, usually at a very slow rate in which the symptoms are very subtle until the bacteria penetrates into the bone.  Then, the symptoms are more obvious with red, swollen, and bleeding gums and some discomfort is noticed which turns into more moderate to severe symptoms.

In the United States, four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it!  Most people are unaware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.  Dr. Ford is here to make the earlierst diagnosis possible and treat periodontal disease at the earliest stages.  Dr. Ford and his dental hygienists have the latest in diagnostic equipment and specialized instruments to effectively treat the disease and maintain the health of your teeth and gums for a lifetime.

Dr. Ford has a dedicated commitment to continuing education throughout his dental career for himself and his dental team.  With our extensive knowledge of periodontal disease and the latest treatment modalities, we have a greater understanding of the periodontal disease process.  Not only is Periodontal Disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and increased risk during pregnancy. 

Tobacco use is the number cause of oral cancer and significantly increases the risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental hygiene visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.  Dr. Ford and your dental hygienist work with you to customize the proper homecare routine and hygiene maintenance interval to maintain your healthy smile.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding Gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.  Please discuss any bleeding you see with Dr. Ford and your dental hygienist to diagnose the area and formulate the proper treatment to stop this significant sign of periodontal disease. 
  • Loose Teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).  This is usually at the moderate to severe stage of periodontal disease.  Dr. Ford always tries to diagnose periodontal disease at the earliest stages prior to any loosening of teeth is noticed.
  • New Spacing Between Teeth – Caused by bone loss.  Please let Dr. Ford and your dental hygienist know right away is your see any new spacing--sometimes this is caused by a abcess as well as periodontal disease.
  • Persistent Bad Breath – Caused by plaque biofilm in the mouth--we have special techniques and products to help significantly reduce malodor of the mouth, known as Halitosis.
  • Pus Around the Teeth and Gums – Exudate or pus is a signficant sign that there is an infection present.  This needs to be treated ASAP sometimes with localized or systemic antibiotics.
  • Receding Gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.  Once thought a natural aging process, recession of the gums is more related to family history and genetics.  There are several ways to help prevent further recession and treatments when the recession is significant and could cause serious tooth loss.
  • Red and Puffy Gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.  If your gums are consistently red or swollen, then we need to diagnose the cause--usually it's the plaque bacteria and hard calculus that has formed around the tooth to irritate and infect the tissue, thus creating the red color and swelling.  Other times, it could be dental restorations not fitting properly or teeth that are not properly aligned therefore causing occlusal trauma (your bite is not fitting well).
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – A warning sign that plaque biofilm and hardened calculus are irritating the gums and teeth. Initially it's irritation and then it evolves into inflammation and infection that if left untreated causing permanent recession and bone loss.