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  • Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St. 93901
  • Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive 95023
  • (831) 424-2214 | Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St.
  • (831) 424-2214 | Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.”  Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition that affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth, eventually affecting the jawbone itself in the disease’s most advanced stages.

Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue.  A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues.  Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat.  Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone.  If left untreated, it can cause shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. 

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line.  When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue.  There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue.  Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.

Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:

  • Chronic periodontitis – Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession.  It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in actuality, the gums (gingiva) are receding.  This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.

  • Aggressive periodontitis – This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual.  It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.

  • Necrotizing periodontitis – This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition.  Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.

  • Periodontitis caused by systemic disease – This form of gum disease often begins at an early age.  Medical condition such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease are common cofactors.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone.  A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.

Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:

  • Scaling and root planing – In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed.  The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection.  A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.

  • Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures.  A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.

  • Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums.  Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.

  • Dental implants – When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone.  Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.

Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.

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Testimonials

Dr. Wetzel is an absolutely incredible gem of a dental surgeon. In every manner of incredible he and his lovely assistant deserves major props.

I am or was a big chicken of the procedure, but based on a small Asian jaw, awful bite and one horizontally impacted wisdom tooth that was causing bone loss, and another slanted and also impacted I had to do something. Due to difficulty taking time off work I got 7 teeth taken out for braces, bite and health. I was terrified to be honest but the office is beautiful, a great place to drool all over yourself ( more on that later) and the pain is minimal considering 2 impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to manage.

I only remember talking to him and joking with him when all of a sudden my memory lapsed and I woke up feeling no pain and they were almost done. I was in disbelief but I remembered hearing about that. There is super slight soreness now 12 hours post op but it actually is better than the soreness from braces! Isn't that crazy? Lastly as someone who only had dentists aged 55 and older I can tell you don't worry. His youthful appearance belies his ability and incredible expertise. :)

Oh and a Warning! You will drool everywhere and I wish I bought a towel for that. Lol. In any case definitely come see him. The drive is worth his ability and he and his assistant is honest, intelligent, kind and super duper skilled!
Tracy is also super kind and the entire staff is great!

I will trust him not only for my first surgery but every one thereafter!

Miss W.

Great periodontist. Very professional and competent. Prices are reasonable compared to similar services elsewhere. Reception staff and nurses are very kind and takes time to explain everything and address all concerns. I highly recommend this office.

Sara G.

Dr. Wetzel is a real professional as well as a likeable person. You don't always get that in an oral surgeon. LOL. His staff is super friendly and you really feel that the whole office cares about your well being. Also, Dr. Wetzel instills me with confidence. I trust him with any procedure. So far I have had a bone graft, an extraction, and a large gum graft. I am looking toward to two dental implants and another gum graft and bone graft. You can tell he is really focused on the task at hand when he is doing a procedure and he takes surgery to the level of an art. Clearly, he has the experience and skills to improvise when he runs into snafus. I had a question about my pain after my last surgery and called his after-hours emergency number, and he called me back within 2 minutes. You can't ask for more than that. Also, if you have Delta Dental, then Tracy will lay out your whole plan for all of your work and tell you how much is covered by Delta and how much you will have left to pay. No surprises. Plus, Dr. Wetzel's new office is super cool. The design is tres chic;) I wish he did regular dentistry too.

Dr. Felicia D.

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Office Location

  • Salinas
  • 1112 Pajaro St.
  • Salinas, CA
  • 93901
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  • Call: (831) 424-2214