Importance of Treating Gum Disease

a diagram depicting gums affected by gum disease

Have you been noticing your gums bleed easily whenever you brush or floss? Or they are starting to pull away from your teeth? These are common signs of gum disease and should never be ignored. Whether you’ve recently started developing symptoms of gum disease or it has been affecting your health for some time, don’t wait to seek treatment. There are many important reasons why.

Gum disease won’t go away by itself

A progressive and dangerous condition, gum disease begins when bacteria from plaque and tartar infect the gums. If not treated right away, gum disease can progress until it causes irreversible damage to oral structures and increases the risk of tooth loss.

Gum disease affects overall health

Advanced stages of periodontal disease have been linked to complications with systemic health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, heart attack, and stroke. Bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream, and the chronic inflammation and infection can take a toll on your body’s immune system.

Gum disease will lead to tooth loss

The number one cause of tooth loss is advanced gum disease. If you don’t get treatment for your bleeding gums and periodontal disease progresses enough, the damage it causes your gums and bone can lead to loose teeth. In worse cases, gum disease destroys so much of the oral structures that teeth are lost entirely.

Gum disease diminishes your confidence

The effects of gum disease are more than just physical. The changing look of your smile can make it difficult to feel confident. Swollen gums, tartar buildup, darkening between your teeth, and more leave your smile looking less than attractive. Treating your gum disease not only improves the health and aesthetics of your smile but your self-confidence, too.

Schedule Your Consultation

Do you have symptoms of gum disease? Don’t put off seeking treatment from our periodontist. Your health and confidence depend on it! Schedule your gum disease treatment consultation today.

Gum Disease And The Development Of Systemic Diseases

Patient needing Gum Disease Treatment

When it comes to gum disease and the development of it there are quite a few risks. However, for the purpose of this article will be discussing the 7 major risks of gum disease development in Fort Lauderdale, FL. To be more specific, there is a direct link between your oral health and your overall health. Meaning that the development of gum disease can lead to the development of major health concerns. It has been proven that these seven systemic diseases below that affect overall health are related to having gum disease:

  1. Stroke
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. Erectile dysfunction
  5. Alzheimer’s disease
  6. Respiratory infections
  7. Pre-term low birth weight

Understanding the Links Between Gum Disease and Health Risks
As far as the link between gum disease and health risks is concerned it’s highly important to understand how negative oral health can lead to negative overall health. The initial stage of gum disease would be gingivitis and when you have gingivitis essentially you have bacteria in your mouth that causes your gums to become inflamed due to an infection. If the gum disease is not treated in its initial stage and is allowed to develop to a more advanced stage, then it can spread to other parts of your body via your blood stream. The spread of this bacteria is what directly links your oral health to the development of systemic diseases.


Contact Our Office To Schedule Your Gum Disease Examination
If you feel as though you are experiencing gum disease then it would be very important if you would reach out to our Periodontist office in Fort Lauderdale, FL to schedule your gum disease examination. This will allow our doctors, Dr. Tom McCawley and Dr. Mark McCawley to examine you and if needed provide you with the necessary treatment to rid you of your gum disease and improve your oral and overall health.  

Is Periodontal Disease Transmissible?

periodontal disease

Yes, definitely! A three second kiss has been shown to transmit about 40 million saliva bacteria and parasites. It is important to get your spouse or anyone you kiss treated to avoid reinfecting yourself after treatment. Periodontal bacteria, caries bacteria, and parasites can also be transmitted to your children starting when they are young.

You can also get periodontal disease bacteria and parasites from your dog or cat, since they have a high rate of periodontal infection. Those lovable face licks can transmit periodontal disease. Ideally, start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are very young to get them used to it.

In addition, periodontal bacteria and parasites can be picked up from food and water, especially in the Caribbean. Drink only bottled water and avoid uncooked food in most developing countries. (See pages 23-24 for a questionnaire regarding the possible contamination sources for bacteria and parasites causing periodontal disease.)

Is Periodontal Disease Hereditary?

No. It is a bacterial and protozoan infection transmitted from others as discussed above. However, an increased susceptibility to this infection can be inherited. According to one recent study, up to 50% of the population may have some genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease. A commercially available test has recently been developed to test for eight genetic markers, genetic variations involved in bone resorption and the inflammatory response. (See next page.) We advise this test when patients tell us they have several family members with periodontal problems. In addition to heredity, other major risk factors are smoking and diabetes. However, if you control the bacteria and protozoans causing the infection, no periodontal disease will occur even if you have any of these risk factors.

For More information, read “Diagnosing and Treating Oral Diseases and Orofacial Pain”.

What Questions Should I Ask When Searching for a Periodontist?

finding a periodontist

There are seven key questions we advise patients to ask when searching for a periodontist.

1. Does the periodontist treat the actual bacterial cause of periodontal disease, or does the periodontist just cut away at the resultant pockets? (See Laboratory Report of a culture that identifies the actual cause of periodontal disease and the appropriate antibiotic to use on page 20.)

2. When treating periodontal disease, does the periodontist use the state-of-the-art Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP), which causes minimal discomfort and stimulates the growth of new bone? (See X-rays on following page.) Or does the periodontist use conventional painful cutting and stitching surgery?

3. For unsightly gum recession, does the periodontist use the much gentler Chao Pinhole gum rejuvenation technique which uses no scalpels? Or does the periodontist use conventional surgery that creates a painful wound on the roof of the mouth?

4. Is the periodontist very concerned about my comfort? Does the periodontist offer sedation for anxious patients? Or does the periodontist only use local anesthetic shots?

5. Is the periodontal practice privately-owned and operated in the community for many years focusing first on my needs? Or is it a corporately-owned practice managed by MBAs from afar focused on daily production goals?

6. Is the periodontist available in one office five days a week to attend to my concerns? Or does the periodontist travel to many different offices and only visit my dentist’s office a couple of days per month?

7. Are the periodontist and staff friendly and personable and have great Google reviews? Do they take the time to listen to my concerns, and then do a comprehensive examination and tailor a treatment plan specific to my needs and desires?

To learn more, read “Saving Your Teeth, Implants, and Your Health,” by Dr’s. McCawley.

Do Dental Implants Get Periodontal Disease?

Dental Implants with Periodontal Disease

Yes, Definitely. It’s Called Peri-Implantitis. 

Implants are just as susceptible to periodontal disease as teeth, especially if the other teeth present have periodontal disease. The same bacteria that infect teeth and cause periodontal disease also infect implants and cause peri-implantitis. Once periodontal disease starts on implants, bone loss can be more rapid than on teeth. This is because implants, unlike teeth, lack fibers that attach directly to the bone to resist the down-growth of infection. Your dentist or hygienist can detect it with a periodontal probe and X-rays which may reveal pockets, bleeding, pus and bone loss.

Several studies have found that as many as 56 percent of patients will develop peri-implantitis. A survey of periodontists reported that up to ten percent of implants must be removed because of peri-implantitis.

Once the implant threads are exposed, peri-implantitis is treated the same way as periodontal disease on teeth, including bacteria and parasite control (See TFBI2 on page 27), ultrasonic scaling and bite adjustment. Special attention is devoted to removing any retained cement on the implant crowns. New laser treatments, such as the Laser Assisted Peri-Implantitis Procedure (LAPIP), and bone grafting techniques show promise if the bone loss is not too severe.

Left: An X-ray of implants infected with peri-implantitis. Right: An X-ray showing new bone growth after LAPIP laser treatment.

For more information on this or any other dental procedure , contact our offices located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to schedule an appointment to speak with either Dr. Mark or Dr. Tom.

Also, you can read more about the different diagnosis and treatments of various oral diseases by downloading a copy of Drs. Mark and Tom McCawley’s book “Saving Your Teeth, Implants And Your Health”.

Looking For Gingivitis

Looking For Gingivitis

Dentists commonly tell their patients to watch out for gingivitis. Gingivitis, also referred to as gum disease, affects many people. There are many causes for gingivitis, and many symptoms to look for. Overtime, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, and even worse, tooth loss, so it is important to stay on top of your oral health.

Gingivitis has the first symptoms of bleeding gums at the occurrence of brushing your teeth or flossing. This does not automatically mean you are suffering from gum disease, but the two generally go hand in hand. If your bleeding does not go away within a few days to a week, you should set up an appointment with your dentist to ensure you do not have the start of gum disease. Another typical symptom associated with gingivitis is red and sensitive soft tissue. If your gums are tender to the touch, or hurt to brush, you should see your dentist.

It is important to know that gingivitis can be turned around, so seeking dental attention at the earliest symptom is important and necessary.

Along with symptoms of gingivitis, you should make yourself aware of the causes. Gum disease, as previously stated can be caused by a number of things, but usually occurs because of plaque buildup. Lack of proper oral care, and left behind plaque causes a buildup which could lead to tartar. Tartar is a hardened plaque, which is hard to remove. Tartar left on teeth causes decay and soft tissue problems. Another cause could be family history. You may be predisposed to gum disease, so let your doctor know of any preexisting family medical history.

If you want to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease to the best of your ability, you should floss and brush your teeth daily, with a recommendation of twice: morning and night. It also is a good idea to rise out your mouth after eating foods that are sugar dense or acidic because of the lingering debris.

If you feel as if these are symptoms you are feeling or words you have heard in the past about your oral health, set up a consultation with your dentist to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Reasons Why Your Gums Are Bleeding

Causes of bleeding gums

If you notice your gums are bleeding while you’re brushing your teeth that could be an alarming sight to see. There are many possible causes why this may be happening. Regardless of which factor it is, it’s better to know some common causes of bleeding gums so you can identify future oral infections and ailments. Take a look at the list below to further your understanding of why your gums may be bleeding.


This is what people typically think of when they see their gums bleeding. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and often occurs when plaque and other bacteria have built up around and in between your teeth and underneath your gum line. Luckily, you can reverse the effects of this stage by simply brushing and flossing thoroughly and scheduling regular checkup appointments with your dentist.

Certain medications

Blood-thinning medications are amongst the top-rated medications known for causing gums to bleed. This information is based on a list that the American dental association published stating that these medications decrease the blood’s ability to clot therefore making it easier for you to bleed in general. Speak with your doctor and your dentist about these medications to make sure they are not harmful to you to continue using.

New dental routine

Starting a new dental routine or purchasing new dental products that you have yet to be a custom with can also be a reason for causing your gums to bleed. Things like a thicker type of floss that you haven’t used before or firmer bristles on your toothbrush that doesn’t agree with your mouth are examples of this.


Yes, this is hard to believe, but women that are pregnant do experience swollen gums and bleeding during their pregnancy. This is classified as a hormonal shift throughout the trimesters leading up to the child’s birth, according to the American pregnancy association. These symptoms do clear up shortly after the pregnancy.

Learn more

Regardless of the reasons why your gums may be bleeding be sure to schedule regular appointments and speak to your dentist and other medical physicians to make sure that this does not cause any long-term damaging effects to your oral wellbeing. For more information and tips to identify oral other issues, please visit us at our Ft. Lauderdale Florida offices.

Gum Disease is Preventable

gum disease is preventable

The human body is a complicated machine, that we have to take care of all the time to remain healthy. As our overall health remains a priority, our oral health needs to be maintained as well for our body to function well, constantly. This means we need to be brushing and flossing our teeth regularly, and treated well. If we maintain oral hygiene, precautions will be in place so that disease prevention is constant. That is why it is imperative to brush our teeth twice a day and floss daily.

If we don’t keep our mouth clean every day, bacteria start to form. The bacteria in our mouth, along with other substances, such as mucus and plaque begin to accumulate.  Plaque forms around our teeth, and if not removed can turn into tartar, which is more damaging to our teeth. The tarter that forms will make our gums swell and tender to the touch. When this occurs and your gums become inflamed, gingivitis has most likely set in.  The inflamed gums usually tend to bleed easily when they become irritated. If you don’t get it treated at this point, it will lead to periodontitis, which is the accelerated disease of gingivitis. The gums will become so sensitive and loose, your teeth at this point are vulnerable to become damaged. It could then harm your jawbone and tissues surrounding the gum.

It is important to visit your dentist as soon as you experience symptoms of sensitive gums and loose teeth. When you feel as if you could be suffering from any form of gum disease, whether it be gingivitis or periodontitis, your dentist will know how to treat it and help you attack this problem. If your specific dentist can no longer handle how far the disease has progressed, they will send you to a recommended periodontist – someone who is a specialist for that specific disease.

Visit your dentist to learn more about your symptoms and how to prevent gum diseases. They are preventable and curable, so make sure you seek professional attention to resolve the problem.

Major causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually caused by severe plaque buildup and bacteria entering the gums, inflaming them. Without proper care, gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis, can turn worse and cause periodontitis. Lack of care when you are someone with gum disease can lead to tooth decay and potentially losing teeth and jawbone dimension.

If you think you may be predisposed to having gum disease, here are some things to keep note of:


It is a known fact that smoking causes cancer, as well as many other deadly diseases. But many of us might not know that it can also cause gum diseases. It has been shown that tobacco users (smokers and those who chew tobacco) are most prone to periodontitis. Smoking not just cigarettes but even cigars or a pipe is equally dangerous to periodontal health. Even after the treatment for the diseases is started, smoking cigarettes will hinder the healing process.


Studies have shown that as high as 30% of the whole population may have hereditary trace of periodontitis. These unlucky percentages of people are six times more at risk of getting gum disease even if they take good care of their teeth and gum. These people can however get preventive care beforehand by finding out if they have genetic traces of the gum diseases.


Stress is something that has been a link to many diseases. The reason stress is a cause for diseases is because stress is a trigger to the brain. If you are prone to high levels of stress, your brain sends signals to your whole body, which controls diseases like hypertension and cancer. Because stress is so closely tied to the body, it is why it’s one of the causes for gum disease. When you are overly stressed, your body has a hard time fighting off diseases.


If you have ever wondered why your dentist asks about medicines you take, they may be the cause of gum disease. Medicines like oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, medicine for cancer treatment and some heart medicines can cause the gum disease. It is important for you to inform your dentist of all the medicine you are taking for other illnesses too, for this reason.



Gum Recession Therapy

gum recession therapy

One of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease is gum recession. This occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull back from the teeth, making the teeth look longer than they should. Not only does it compromise the person’s aesthetic, it can further exacerbate health problems. When you notice recession occurring, you should call Dr. Tom McCawley to see if the Pinhole® Surgical Technique is right for you. If it is, then there are many benefits you stand to gain.

Nearly Free of Pain

Our periodontist in Ft. Lauderdale, FL will apply a topical anesthetic to the area, so you will not feel much during the procedure. As a result, it is a much more comfortable procedure than gum disease treatments of the past. There will also be little to no post-op pain, making the recovery process much easier to get through.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

One aspect of PST® all patients enjoy is that no stitching or cutting is required. Our periodontist will not have to cut through healthy tissue in the mouth. The process does not rely on a suture or scalpel at all. Due to this, you will not have as severe as a recovery period as gum treatments from years ago.

Fast Procedure

In the dental world, many professionals refer to PST™ as the “lunchtime gum lift.” This is because it can generally be done in just one visit that only lasts about 30 minutes. You will be in and out in no time, so you can easily schedule the appointment within your busy schedule.

A Fast Recovery

Gum grafts of the past would sometimes take weeks to recover from. You will feel as good as new within a day or two with the Pinhole® Surgical Technique. There is no need to live with gum recession when you can visit the McCawley Center for Laser Periodontics and Implants. Call us as soon as you notice a problem, so we can recommend the best treatment for you.