Periodontal Associates
1517 Mall Dr.
Iowa City, IA 52240
E-mail us
Dr. Borgwardt: (319) 337-3588
Dr. Romanowski: (319) 337-5752
Fax: (319) 351-8348
Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed. -  American Academy of Periodontology

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and involves inflammation of the gum tissue without affecting the surrounding bone.  It is caused by inadequate oral hygiene, and often causes the gum tissue to become red, swollen, and bleed easily.  Gingivitis rarely hurts and is reversible with professional treatment and good oral hygiene.

 Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, plaque and tartar can spread below the gum line causing a chronic inflammatory process leading to destruction of the surrounding gum tissue and bone.  The gum tissue separates from the teeth causing spaces or “pockets” between the gums and teeth, and the supporting bone around the teeth begins to dissolve.  Periodontitis may be associated with a varying level of discomfort, but is often times painless.  If left untreated, however, eventually the teeth will become loose and need to be removed.

Periodontitis can be characterized as either Chronic or Aggressive.  Chronic periodontitis is the most common form and is characterized by a relatively slow progression, while aggressive periodontitis, as the name implies, is characterized by rapid progression of the disease and often has a familial or genetic component.  In addition periodontal disease can be modified or exaggerated by a number of health conditions including diabetes, malnutrition, and immunosuppression, as well as behavioral factors such as smoking.  Poor periodontal health has also been linked to a number of systemic diseases including heart disease and pregnancy complications.  Click here to learn more about the link between periodontal health and overall health.