What Is Periodontal Disease?

The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film produced by bacteria to help the bacteria attach to teeth. If plaque is not removed with adequate brushing and flossing, it turns into calculus (tartar). No amount of brushing/flossing can remove calculus; therefore we rely on regular dental cleanings for its removal. When plaque and calculus are not removed, they release toxins and create inflammation that destroys the supporting gums and bone.

Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums but early stages can be symptom-free. Some people are more at risk than others for having destruction of the bone around their teeth. This is why some people may require more frequent dental exams and cleanings.

The Littleton and Aurora periodontal disease experts at Periodontal Associates are committed to helping patients overcome gum disease and enjoy healthy gums for life.

According to the CDC, roughly half of people aged 30 and older have periodontal disease! Most of these people don’t know they have it!

Most people who have periodontal disease are unaware of its progression because it is usually painless in the early stages. Signs and symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, loose teeth, new spacing between teeth, pus and swelling, red and puffy gums, bad breath, and discomfort but they normally present only when the disease is extensive!

Gums Are Connected to the Whole Body!

Not only is periodontal disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. Research has shown how inflammation from the bacterial infection in periodontal disease spreads through the blood stream and can increase the risk for stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pre-term birth.

There are habits that can put people at a higher risk for periodontal disease. Smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease by 2-8 times. Research has shown that smoking worsens the immune system and blood flow and as a result, bacterial infections like gum disease can be more rapid. While our therapies can slow the progression of gum disease and can regenerate lost support, those that continue to smoke have less benefit from our treatments.

Systemic conditions like uncontrolled diabetes can put patients at higher risk for periodontal disease as well. Similar to smoking, uncontrolled diabetes can worsen the immune system and blood flow, which can speed the breakdown of tooth support and can put patients at a higher risk for infections during treatment.

Research has also shown that 20% of the population is at higher risk for gum disease. These are the patients that we regularly see for dental exams and cleanings more often (normally it’s alternating with their general dentist every 3 months [e.g. 4 dental cleanings per year]). Despite being at a higher risk, patients can expect to keep the majority of their teeth if they follow the recommendations of their dental, periodontal, and medical providers. This with good oral hygiene habits, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce the risk for developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

According to our Aurora and Littleton periodontal disease team, the following signs suggest gum disease:
Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
Loose teeth
Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
New spacing between teeth
Caused by bone loss.
Persistent bad breath
Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
Pus around the teeth and gums
Sign that there is an infection present.
Receding gums
Loss of gum around a tooth.
Red and puffy gums
Gums should never be red or swollen.
Tenderness or Discomfort
Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Periodontal Disease Treatment in Littleton and Aurora, CO

The Periodontal Associates team treats periodontal disease in Littleton and Aurora, Colorado, also serving Denver and beyond. If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of gum disease, we invite you to call or email us to request an appointment.

Your Dental Health Starts Here. Request an Appointment.

Or call — 303-755-4500

  • Jessica WearpJessica Wearp

    Dr. Heller and team were recommended to me by my orthodontist for a gum graft and they were FANTASTIC! On my first visit Dr. Heller explained the procedure and answered my questions thoroughly. He was personable and had a great sense of humor, which put me at ease. The office staff worked with my insurance and communicated the financial arrangements so there were no surprises. During the procedure I felt only minimal discomfort at one point, but otherwise I was completely numb. The recovery was bearable but I did take pain medication for a few weeks as needed. I didn't feel comfortable speaking for several days, which probably varies based on the extent of surgery (I canceled Zoom meetings and calls the week after). While no one wants a gum graft, after having it done I wish I would've scheduled it earlier -- don't wait if you need one! Had I gone in earlier, I could have avoided some bone loss. Just make sure to stock up on smoothie and soup ingredients before the procedure. Dr. Heller made me feel comfortable throughout the whole process and now, 6 weeks later, I have a much healthier and attractive smile.

  • A Google UserA Google User

    Dr. Jenna Hyre is an exceptional Periodontist. I was introduced to her when she was in her last few months of residency at the University of Texas San Antonio Periodontics. My first visit with Dr. Hyre was warm and welcoming. Dr. Hyre conducted a thorough examination of the issues I had. She explained in great detail the processes and procedures that were required to fix the years of bone loss and receding gums. More importantly she listened to me and answered all of my questions. I had many visits with Dr. Hyre, each one of them better than the last. Dr. Hyre performed extractions, bone graphs, pocket reconstruction and guided tissue regeneration. Her attention to detail and the work she performed is beyond amazing. I personally thank her for the wonderful experience and her professionalism throughout all of my visits. I highly recommend Dr. Hyre and wish her all the best as she furthers her career.

  • Brigitte AdesBrigitte Ades

    Love the teamwork here! Talk about having fun while going to the dentist, yes it is true. You can have fun and get great work done. Whenever I need anything done the team from Periodontal Associates is there. I am thrilled to leave a review for this group of dentist. They are simply amazing

  • Valerie FarrarValerie Farrar

    I've had the best experience with this office. I have had some terrible experiences in the pass with different places. They made me feel comfortable and I couldn't have a better team to tend to all my dental needs. They take the time to really care by reaching out to check on you, and getting your emergency taken care asap even during a pandemic.

  • Laurie KincerLaurie Kincer

    Dr. Hyer was patient and professional when she did my implant. I was apprehensive and she put me at ease immediately. I can’t recommend her highly enough. You will be happy to work with her and you’ll be smiling even brighter under her professional care.

  • Melissa H.Melissa H.

    Let's be honest here - there is nothing fun about having gum surgery. However, the staff and Dr. Heller were as good as it gets with regard to my treatment....

  • Bridget B.Bridget B.

    Wow, from the moment I walked in I felt welcome. Super nice people and caring. I am a chicken and do not like dentist anything. Doctor Heller explained...

  • Paul BeauchampPaul Beauchamp

    Dr. Dan Thousand and staff were amazing. Having gum grafting done is not a pleasant experience by any means, but I was very impressed with Dan Thousand and his staff through this whole process. Several things Dan Thousand and I discussed really resinated with me, such as how damaging smoking cigarettes is to the tissue inside my mouth, ect. Long story short, I took everything Dan Thousand said to heart and I was able to quit smoking as result of this surgery, and for me this is a very huge accomplishment. Dan and I actually celebrated 46 days of no smoking on my final follow up today. I was very pleased at the results of the surgery as I no longer have any negative areas of gum recession in my mouth. The day of the surgery was a very difficult day due to the pain, but it was very nice to receive a call from their office checking up on me to see how I was doing. The follow up phone call was very comforting. I would highly recommend Dr. Dan Thousand and his staff to anyone who ever needs to have gum grafting done. 😃

  • Sara KluhsmanSara Kluhsman

    Dr. Thousand is pure genius! He fixed a failing implant & placed a new 1 as well. I will never go anywhere else. That man preforms miracles!

  • Karen Pelling LevineKaren Pelling Levine

    Dr. Doug Heller is one of three of the doctors that make up the driving force in my efforts to save my teeth and my overall health. What started out as one broken tooth led to the possibility of my losing all of my teeth to gum disease. Panicked, I reached for a second opinion and found Dr. Heller, along with my regular Dentist & Orthodontist. I am now the proud owner of only 5 implants, as opposed to full upper and lower implants OR full dentures. Though dental procedures are hardly fun, Dr. Heller and his staff have made it a smooth process, from financial to face-changing....I couldn't be happier. 😁 You be the judge. My profile pic, there on the left, is a fine example of their handiwork.
    Double Bonus: Doorbell just rang. Beautiful plant has just arrived to cheer me in my recovery....Thank you, Dr. Heller and your wonderful Staff!

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Tori Horton HamillTori Horton Hamill

    Dr Beckman performed a gum graft. I was nervous, but he explained everything clearly and thoroughly. The staff were very accommodating when I had to reschedule and they keep the schedule flowing on time so I was not sitting and waiting beyond the appointment time. The only downside was having to ask multiple times about the cost and what my calculated out of pocket would be. Would definitely recommend.

  • Ashley SingletaryAshley Singletary

    5 stars! Dr. Beckman and the entire office staff provide superior customer service and care. I recently had a gum graft performed and from the very first meeting I felt at ease. Dr. Beckman took his time explaining the procedure and patiently answered any questions I had. On the day of the procedure they go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable- they use top of the line medical treatment for an effective procedure and speedy recovery. The team was very supportive and available through the entire process and even calls to check on you post procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Beckman and his team!

  • Doris BinderDoris Binder

    I needed to get some implants and Dr. Heller was recommended. Thankfully, he was absolutely wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he explained everything that needed be done and the procedure began. Now it's not an over night process, but the weeks after each step was a piece of cake. I am so happy with my implants. I had to have a tooth pulled a few weeks ago, and I don't know how he does it, but I had zero pain, no complications and I needed no pain Meds. The staff is so friendly and I highly recommend them.

  • Kenneth McCallKenneth McCall
  • Jan BernsteinJan Bernstein

    Dr. Beckman and the staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. I highly recommend the practice to anyone in need of a periodontist.

  • Chelsy LaForceChelsy LaForce

    Dr. Heller and the rest of the team is absolutely amazing. They are super helpful through the entire process and I knew I was in great hands. Thank you so much!

  • Terry Lavitt SeiverTerry Lavitt Seiver
  • Aprille Tripler MooreAprille Tripler Moore

    Dr. Beckman and the entire staff at Periodontal Associates are amazing! Dr. Beckman performed a gum graft procedure on me and to my surprise and relief I felt no pain. Not during the procedure or post op. The entire experience from consult through my last follow up appointment was topnotch.

  • Terry SandahlTerry Sandahl

    I have been a patient of first Dr. Versman and then Dr. Heller for over 20 years. This is an amazing periodontal group! I feel so comfortable having them take care of my needs~and there have been many! Dr. Heller is so easy going and I never feel like whatever he does will fail. They have a great support staff too! All their assistants are competent and friendly, and my hygienist Michelle is the best! Love these guys and wouldn't think of going anywhere else!

We Are Colorado’s Premier Provider of Dental Implants & Periodontics

Hours

Mon - Fri: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat, Sun: Closed

Address

26 W Dry Creek Circle
#300

Littleton, CO 80120

Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat, Sun: Closed