August 12, 2022
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Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease, and periodontitis is advanced disease affecting gums and bone. Plaque and tartar buildup on teeth can lead to gum disease. Risk factors include smoking, medications that reduce saliva production, diabetes, and hormonal changes in girls and women. At Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants, periodontists Dr. Charles Felts III and Dr. Elizabeth Felts Randall are specialists in detecting, treating, and preventing gum disease.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is mild gum disease in its earliest stage. Hardened plaque on the teeth forms tartar, which causes gum inflammation and promotes tooth decay. 

Signs and Symptoms

Gingivitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing or with the use of a periodontal probe


Gingivitis treatment controls the infection and restores gums to their healthy state. 

Treatment includes:

  • Teeth cleaning to remove plaque and tartar
  • Brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush
  • Flossing daily
  • Regular dental exams and cleaning
  • Addressing the underlying cause of gingivitis

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease that results when gingivitis goes untreated. Plaque and tartar will grow beneath the gum line, and the bacteria prompt a chronic inflammatory response that breaks down and destroys the tissues and bone that support teeth.

Signs and Symptoms

Periodontitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Gum redness, swelling, and discomfort
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Mouth sores
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in how your teeth meet when you bite
  • Sensitive teeth
  • A change in the fit of a partial denture

Health Risks

According to research published in the Journal of Periodontal and Implant Science, patients with chronic periodontitis have increased systemic inflammation and higher levels of various inflammatory markers than those without gum disease. Several studies show a link between periodontal disease and the progression of other systemic diseases, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease


Periodontitis treatments are tailored to each patient’s case and may require non-surgical or surgical treatments.

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Scaling and root planing – The technique removes plaque and bacterial toxins from periodontal pockets beneath the gum line. It deeply cleans and smooths tooth roots to seal out future plaque or toxins.
  • Laser treatment – Laser light removes diseased tissue, keeps healthy tissue intact, and seals out bacteria.
  • Tray delivery systems – Custom trays fit over your teeth to deliver medication that treats diseased gums.

Surgical Periodontal Procedures

  • Gum graft surgery – Grafts cover exposed tooth roots and prevent further gum recession and bone loss.
  • Regenerative procedures – After removing bacteria, adding tissue membranes, tissue-stimulating proteins, or bone grafts will encourage your body to regenerate bone and tissue.
  • Periodontal pocket procedures – The treatment removes bacteria, smooths damaged bone, and secures gum tissue.

Schedule a Consultation with Chattanooga Periodontics

If you have signs or symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, Dr. Felts and Dr. Felts Randall offer specialized care in gum, teeth, and bone health. They will listen to your concerns, assess your oral health, and customize a treatment plan to restore it. Our periodontist also provides high-quality dental implants to replace missing teeth resulting from gum disease, injury, or other factors. Request a consultation with Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants today.