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Nurse and woman smiling at the dental - Dentist in West Chester PA

Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

(610) 615 0160

A Strong, Beautiful Smile Needs A Healthy Gums 

Maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile involves caring for both your teeth and gums. While teeth are often the focus, your gums serve as the foundation for your smile and are equally crucial for oral health. Periodontal (gum) disease can devastate your oral health and ruin your smile if left untreated. 

At Briglia Dental Group, West Chester, PA, family dentist Dr. Briglia offers comprehensive periodontal services to prevent and treat gum disease, ensuring a strong, healthy foundation for your smile. Call our West Chester dental practice at (610) 615-0160 if you’re a new patient or (610) 692-4440 if you’re an existing patient. Learn more about protecting your gums and maintaining a radiant, healthy smile.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums. The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque and tartar, substances that occur when food particles mix with the bacteria in your mouth. Plaque and tartar stick to your teeth and gums and can accumulate where it’s hard for a toothbrush and floss to reach.

While plaque can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, tartar, the hardened form of plaque, can only be removed by a dental professional like Dr. Briglia. If these substances remain, they produce more bacteria, which multiply and produce acid that attacks the gums and causes gum disease. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors contribute to the development and progression of periodontal diseases. Understanding these underlying causes is essential for effective gum disease prevention and treatment.

  • Dental Plaque Buildup: The primary trigger for periodontal diseases is the accumulation of dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals are more genetically susceptible to severe forms of periodontal disease.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Irregular or inadequate brushing and flossing allows plaque to persist, leading to constant gum irritation.
  • Hormonal Changes: Periods of hormonal fluctuations, such as during pregnancy or menopause, can make gums more sensitive and prone to inflammation.
  • Poor Nutrition: A diet lacking essential nutrients weakens the body’s ability to fend off infections, including those in the gums.
  • Systemic Conditions: Certain systemic conditions, like heart disease, have been linked to an increased risk of gum disease.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

The following symptoms are often a good indicator that you may have or are developing gum disease and require professional periodontal services:

  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Bite changes
  • Partial dentures or bridges not fitting correctly
  • Defective fillings 
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Metal taste in your mouth
  • Pus between gums/teeth
  • A sore that doesn’t improve after two weeks
  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or pull away from your teeth

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to call our West Chester office and set up an appointment with Dr. Briglia. Call (610) 615 0160 if you’re a new patient or (610) 692 4440 if you’re returning so we can treat your gum disease as soon as possible. 

Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs in stages that become more destructive the more they advance. The stages of gum disease are as follows:

Gingivitis: The first stage and mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is usually characterized by minor tenderness and swelling in the gums. At this stage, the infection is reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional periodontal services like regularly scheduled deep cleanings from Dr. Briglia. 

Initial Periodontitis: Once gingivitis advances to initial periodontitis, the infection begins to attack the bone and the damage can’t be reversed. Fortunately, the damage can still be stopped with deep cleaning and proper oral hygiene. This stage is usually characterized by gums bleeding when you brush your teeth, although you may not notice any pain. 

Moderate Periodontitis: With many similarities to the initial stage, moderate periodontitis involves more advanced damage to the ligaments and bones that attach your teeth to your gums. Additionally, the infection can now enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body.

Advanced Periodontitis: The most destructive stage of gum disease, advanced periodontitis often causes noticeably loose teeth, bad breath, pain, pus-filled abscesses, and makes permanent tooth loss a much more likely occurrence. At this stage, you’ll require frequent deep cleaning sessions and will likely need surgery to save your teeth.

Healthy teeth

Healthy Teeth

Gum disease teeth

Gum Disease

Consequences of Untreated Periodontal Disease

Neglecting periodontal disease can have serious ramifications for both your oral health and overall well-being. Here are some of the potential consequences if periodontal disease is left untreated:

  • Tooth Loss: As the disease progresses, the supporting structures around your teeth weaken. This can lead to teeth becoming loose and, in severe cases, falling out.
  • Bone Loss: The bone that anchors teeth in the jaw can erode over time due to the ongoing infection. This can alter the shape of your face and lead to further dental issues.
  • Gum Recession: As the gums pull away from your teeth, more of the tooth’s root is exposed. This can lead to increased sensitivity and aesthetic concerns.
  • Chronic Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath (halitosis) is a common symptom of advanced periodontal disease. It’s caused by the bacteria that thrive in the pockets around the teeth.
  • Infection Spread: The bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and potentially cause infections in other parts of the body. This can be particularly risky for individuals with compromised immune systems.
  • Difficulty Chewing and Speaking: Loose or missing teeth can make it challenging to bite and chew food properly. It can also affect speech patterns.
  • Aesthetic Concerns: The changes in the gum line and potential tooth loss can significantly alter the appearance of your smile.
  • Diminished Quality of Life: Periodontal disease can have a substantial impact on your overall quality of life. It can lead to discomfort, self-consciousness, and a reduced ability to enjoy your favorite foods.
  • Increased Healthcare Costs: Treating advanced periodontal disease often involves more extensive and costly procedures. It’s more cost-effective to address the issue in its earlier stages.
  • Impact on Systemic Health: Some studies suggest a link between periodontal disease and other systemic health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. While the exact nature of this connection is still being studied, maintaining oral health is crucial for overall well-being.

Treating & Preventing Periodontal Disease at Briglia Dental Group

Proper Oral Hygiene

The best treatment for periodontal disease is prevention. Dr. Briglia suggests all his patients practice proper at-home oral hygiene to prevent oral health issues like periodontal disease. Proper oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing for at least two minutes twice a day
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Rinsing between meals 

Regular Professional Cleanings & Dental Exams

Even patients with the most diligent at-home dental care routines can develop oral health issues. You shouldn’t rely solely on at-home care, as the untrained eye can easily miss issues that start below the surface such as periodontal disease. To effectively protect your smile and get the most out of your at-home care, visit Dr. Briglia at least twice a year or once every six months for regular professional cleanings and dental exams.

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is a specialized dental cleaning for those who have undergone gum disease treatment. It involves removing harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar to prevent gum disease recurrence. Scheduled every three to four months by Dr. Briglia, these regular cleanings help maintain gum health, reduce tooth loss risk, and promote good oral hygiene.

Lifestyle Changes

Additionally, you can help prevent gum disease by changing your daily habits to promote your overall health and well-being. Some changes you may consider incorporating into your life to prevent gum- disease may include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Reducing your sugar intake
  • Exercising regularly
  • Stopping tobacco use
  • Limiting or ceasing alcohol consumption 

Root Planing & Scaling

To treat periodontal disease, Dr. Briglia recommends non-surgical periodontal services, including a deep cleaning method called root planing and scaling. Root planing and scaling is a process where your dentist removes excess plaque, tartar, and bacteria from around your teeth and below the gum line to remove and stop the infection. 

During the scaling phase of the procedure, your West Chester dentist will remove the bacteria from beneath your gum line and around your teeth. In the root planing phase, your roots will be smoothed to help prevent bacteria from reaccumulating and to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Not only will this process help remove bacteria-laden plaque and tartar to enhance your oral health, but it will also drastically improve the appearance of your smile. 


For moderate or advanced gum disease, antibiotic therapy often works in conjunction with scaling and root planing. Powerful antimicrobial rinses, gels, powders, or controlled-release products are placed under the gum line or applied to diseased pockets of gum tissue. These reduce bacterial load and help tissues heal after deep cleanings.

Frequently Asked Questions

The exact cost of your periodontal service will depend on a number of factors, including what stage of gum disease you’re experiencing. Your dentist can provide an accurate estimate of your gum disease treatment costs during your initial appointment.

In its earliest stage, it may be possible to treat gum disease with proper oral hygiene and home remedies, but there’s no guarantee this will be effective. You may think you’ve managed to eliminate your gum disease when you haven’t, which is why it’s so important to attend biannual appointments.

Dentists can detect problems an untrained eye can easily miss and provide professional periodontal services, including antibiotics and detailed advice, to treat gum disease as soon as possible.

While it’s less common in children, it’s still possible. It’s crucial to instill good oral hygiene habits from a young age to prevent its development and visit your dentist every six months for routine teeth cleanings and dental checkups.

It’s never too late to see a dentist to treat gum disease and reap the benefits. Even older adults can regain a significant amount of periodontal health and avoid tooth loss through modern treatment.

Call Briglia Dental Group: Healthier Gums For Healthier Smiles

The health of your gums is an essential part of your oral health and the brilliance of your smile. At Briglia Dental Group, our periodontal services can help treat gum disease, for better oral health and a smile you’ll be proud of. 

To learn more about the periodontal services available at Briglia Dental Group, contact our West Chester, PA, office at (610) 615-0160 if you’re a new patient or (610) 692-4440 if you’re already part of our family practice. You can also fill out and submit our online contact form and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly. Our practice welcomes new and returning patients from West Chester, Chester Springs, Exton, Broomall, and Chadds Ford, PA, to experience our exceptional family-oriented care.

Dr. Ron Briglia at Briglia Dental Group

Dr. Ron Briglia has been practicing dentistry since 1984. With decades of experience and extensive continuing education, Dr. Briglia provides the most comprehensive dental services.

He earned his Bachelor of Science from Gannon University and his Doctor of Dental Medicine from Temple University Dental School. He has received advanced training at prestigious organizations like Pankey and Las Vegas Institutes. He is IV and oral sedation-certified too.

Most of Dr. Briglia’s patients have continued with him in his family of patients for over 30 – 35 years, and the restorations he has provided them have lasted for 25-35 years – clear evidence of his skills and expertise.

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