Periodontal disease, or simply known as gum disease, is an inflammatory condition of the gums and the periodontal tissues that surround the teeth. At Dental Care South, Tuscaloosa’s trusted family dentistry, diagnosing periodontal disease is as simple as getting a periodontal examination during your regular dental check-up!

During the examination, a periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. If the sulcus pockets are deeper than three millimeters and bleed slightly, the progression of periodontal disease has begun. Using sulcus pocket depths, the amount of bleeding present, inflammation, and tooth mobility, your dentist or hygienist will identify how severe your condition is, diagnosing you for one of the three stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and chronic periodontitis.


Gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, causes red and puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Triggered by the accumulation of bacterial plaque, your immune system responds to the gingival bacteria by continuously inflaming the surrounding periodontal tissues, eventually leading to deterioration of the gums and roots of the teeth.


Periodontitis, a severe form of gingivitis and periodontal disease, causes plaque to build up and harden into tartar, leading the gums to recede further from the teeth. While supporting gum tissues begin to deteriorate, teeth begin to loosen and slight bone loss may occur. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and then fill with bacteria and pus at high rates.

Chronic Periodontitis

Identified as the most advanced form of periodontal disease, chronic periodontitis causes the teeth to completely lose support and fall out as the gums, periodontal ligaments, and bones slowly continue to deteriorate. Several research studies have suggested that chronic periodontal disease is connected to a variety of other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Get in Touch with Your Trusted Family Dentistry

According to recent findings from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans ages 30 and older have periodontitis…that’s nearly 64.7 million American’s with advanced gingivitis and swollen gums! If you have questions or concerns about the causes of periodontal diseases or periodontal treatment, don’t hesitate to contact Dental Care South in Tuscaloosa, AL today!

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