Periodontal Care

Periodontal Care

Periodontal care at Woodard Family Dentistry focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. This branch of dentistry is crucial because periodontal health is directly linked to overall health. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and has been associated with systemic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory issues.

Common Periodontal Diseases


Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is usually caused by the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. Common symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath

Gingivitis is reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings. However, if left untreated, it can progress to more severe forms of periodontal disease.


Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum disease that affects the tissues and bone supporting the teeth. It occurs when gingivitis is not treated, leading to the formation of pockets between the gums and teeth. These pockets become infected, causing the following symptoms:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that pull away from the teeth (receding gums)
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in bite or tooth alignment

If not managed properly, periodontitis can result in tooth loss. Advanced periodontal care is required to control the infection and restore oral health.

Aggressive Periodontitis

Aggressive periodontitis is a less common but rapidly progressing form of periodontitis. It can occur in otherwise healthy individuals and often affects younger patients. This form of periodontitis requires prompt and aggressive treatment to prevent severe damage to the gums and bone.

Chronic Periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of periodontal disease characterized by slow progression. It primarily affects adults and is often related to poor oral hygiene, smoking, and genetic factors. Symptoms are similar to those of general periodontitis, and ongoing periodontal care is necessary to manage the condition. Call us to learn more.

Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease

Several factors can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to plaque buildup and gum disease.
  • Smoking and tobacco Use: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease and can impair treatment outcomes.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are genetically predisposed to gum disease.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause dry mouth or affect gum health, increasing the risk of periodontal disease.
  • Poor nutrition: A diet lacking essential nutrients can weaken the immune system and contribute to gum disease.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infections.

Periodontal Treatments

Professional Cleanings

Regular professional cleanings are essential for preventing and managing periodontal disease. During a cleaning, dental hygienists remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from the teeth and below the gumline. This helps prevent the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure used to treat periodontitis. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and below the gumline. Root planing smooths the root surfaces, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere and grow. This procedure helps the gums reattach to the teeth and reduces pocket depth.

Antibiotic Therapy

Antibiotic therapy may be used in conjunction with scaling and root planing to eliminate bacteria and reduce infection. Antibiotics can be administered orally or applied directly to the affected areas.

Periodontal Surgery

In more severe cases of periodontitis, surgical intervention may be necessary. Common periodontal surgeries include:

  • Flap surgery: This procedure involves lifting the gums to remove tartar deposits and then suturing the gums back into place.
  • Bone grafting: Bone grafting is used to rebuild bone lost due to periodontal disease, providing support for teeth and dental implants.
  • Soft tissue grafts: Soft tissue grafts are used to cover exposed roots or add tissue to areas with gum recession.
  • Guided tissue regeneration: This procedure promotes the regrowth of bone and tissue lost to periodontitis by placing a biocompatible membrane between the bone and gum tissue.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is an advanced treatment option for periodontal disease. Lasers can effectively remove infected tissue and bacteria, reduce pocket depth, and promote healing. This minimally invasive procedure often results in less discomfort and faster recovery compared to traditional surgery.

Maintenance and Follow-Up Care

Ongoing maintenance and follow-up care are crucial for managing periodontal disease. Patients with a history of periodontal disease should have regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor their condition and prevent recurrence.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Preventing periodontal disease requires a commitment to good oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some tips for maintaining healthy gums:

Brush and Floss Daily

Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three to four months.

Use an Antimicrobial Mouthwash

An antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth, lowering the risk of gum disease. Look for a mouthwash that contains ingredients such as chlorhexidine or essential oils.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supports overall health and immune function. Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can contribute to plaque buildup and gum disease.

Quit Smoking

Smoking and tobacco use are significant risk factors for periodontal disease. Quitting smoking can dramatically improve your gum health and reduce the risk of developing gum disease.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of periodontal disease. Practice stress-management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to maintain overall well-being.

Regularly Visit Your Dentist

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential for preventing and detecting periodontal disease early. Visit Woodard Family Dentistry at least twice a year for professional cleanings and evaluations.

Monitor Your Oral Health

Pay attention to changes in your oral health, such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, or loose teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Woodard, our dentist in Spokane Valley, WA, for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.


Periodontal care is vital for maintaining healthy gums and overall oral health. At Woodard Family Dentistry in Spokane Valley, WA, Dr. Christopher S. Woodard, DMD, and his team are dedicated to providing exceptional periodontal care. By understanding the importance of periodontal health, recognizing the signs and symptoms of gum disease, and following preventive measures, patients can achieve and maintain healthy gums for a lifetime.

Are you ready to experience top-quality dental care for your entire family? Visit Dr. Christopher S. Woodard, DMD, at Woodard Family Dentistry, conveniently located at 1020 S Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99206. Don't wait any longer to take care of your oral health. Call us today at (509) 924-8585 to schedule your appointment or to learn more about our comprehensive dental services.

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Spokane Valley, WA

1020 S Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99206


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