Periodontics Services at Ortega Dental Care

How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. Plaque builds and hardens under the gums, causing the gums to become inflamed. The infection may lead to loss of the bone around the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. There are often no warning signs of early gum disease. Symptoms such as pain, abscess and loosening of the teeth do not occur until the disease is in its advanced stages.

Warning Signs

 Gum disease is often painless; therefore, you may not know you have it until you have some serious damage. Plan a visit to your dentist if you have any of the following warning signs:

  •  Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Even if your gums don’t hurt, get them checked.
  • Red, swollen or tender gums.
  • Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth’s root may show, or your teeth may look longer.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums).
  • Bad breath.
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other.
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite.
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures.


Gum disease may be treated by deep cleaning to remove the hardened plaque below the gum line. This is called scaling and root planing. Gum surgery may be needed when gum disease is very advanced. The surgery consists of the dentist cleaning out the infected area under the gum, then reshaping the bone around the teeth. Treatment is successful only if the patient regularly brushes and flosses to keep the plaque from building up again.

 Other Mouth Problems Diabetics May Experience is the risk of Oral infections. An oral infection is a cluster of germs that invades an area of your mouth. Some of the warning signs of an oral infection are:

  • Swelling or pus around your teeth or gums or any place in your mouth. Swelling can be large or small.
  • Pain in the mouth or sinus area that doesn’t go away.
  • White or red patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks or the roof of your mouth.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • Teeth that hurt when you eat something hot or cold or when you chew.
  • Dark spots or holes on your teeth.

Fungal infections– When you have diabetes, you are more prone to fungal infections such as thrush because the fungus thrives on high glucose levels in saliva. Smoking and wearing dentures can also contribute to fungal infections. Medication is available to treat this infection; however, good diabetic control, no smoking and removing and cleaning dentures daily can prevent thrush. Infections can make your blood glucose hard to control.

Poor healing– If your diabetes is poorly controlled, you heal more slowly and increase your chance of infection. For example, if you are scheduled for a dental procedure, by keeping your blood glucose under control before, during and after the procedure, you will increase your chances for a better recovery.

Dry mouth– Some diabetics complain of dry mouth. This may be caused by some of the medicines you take. Dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities because there is less saliva to wash away germs and take care of the acids they create. If you are taking medications, let your doctor or dentist know if your mouth feels dry. You may be able to try a different drug or use an “artificial saliva” to keep your mouth moist. Also, try drinking more fluids or chewing sugar-free gum or sugar-free candy to help keep the saliva flowing.