The Dental Center of South Bend
1005 East LaSalle Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617

Gum Disease – Understanding Gingivitis and Periodontitis

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Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is a potentially serious infection of the gums and soft tissues that surround your teeth and help hold them in place. The early stages of gum disease are reversible with strict oral hygiene. You may not know when your gum problems first started because there are often no early symptoms. Advancing gum infection produces sore, bleeding gums, and pain when eating. If the inflammation and infection isn’t treated, the supporting connective tissues and bone eventually become involved. If this occurs, you may lose your teeth.

Gingivitis Can Progress to Periodontitis 



Infection and inflammation of gums is usually a direct result of poor oral hygiene at home. If you don’t clean your teeth, a sticky film called plaque builds up on them. Eventually, it hardens to form tartar that only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove. The bacteria contained in plaque and tartar irritates and inflames gums. Your dentist calls the early stage of gum infection gingivitis. It does not yet involve any loss of soft tissue or supportive bone, and it is often reversible through good oral care. If left untreated, gingivitis advances to the more serious condition known as periodontitis. Once it reaches this stage, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth and form pockets that fill with infection. Eventually, the body’s immune response and bacterial toxins start to break down and destroy the bone and connective tissue. As the loss of supporting tissues progresses, teeth loosen and fall out or require extraction.

Periodontal Disease Is Not an Inevitable Part of Aging

The suffering caused by gum disease and tooth loss is not caused by normal aging. Most periodontal disease is preventable with thorough twice-daily brushing, flossing, regular dental appointments and professional cleanings. See your dentist for early recognition and treatment of gum problems.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in South Bend, call The Dental Center of South Bend today at (574) 367-7000 or make an appointment.

The Dental Center offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Bend. With 4 affiliated practices throughout Indiana, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At The Dental Center of South Bend, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at The Dental Center of South Bend.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
My dental hygienist is excellent.
Darlene J.
Cordial and knowledgeable staff
Antonio A.
Service is efficient and everyone is friendly.
Christine B.
The doctor and her assistant were great. I had a reaction to the lidocaine and they took care of me in a very comforting way!
Janus H.
The hygienist was gentle and thorough
Jose G.
Terry is very thorough and friendly and makes the experience very pleasant.
Julia E.
Very professional staff.
George O.
Friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable
Serica E.
The hygienists are always very friendly when they provide guidance on healthy home care. The dentist is not scary or overbearing like others I’ve been to. They are very positive in looking towards […]
Raquel H.
Great experience for our grandson. He goes back and has never complained about anything. We also took our 3 son’s there.
Kimberly H.
Friendly staff and a job well done
Jayson F.
Good information provided by hygienist and Dr. Patel on how to improve my already strong dental care habits.
Mike M.
The service was excellent from the moment I walked in. The entire staff had a genuine, welcoming smile and seemed to care about every client. I have rarely seen such authentic friendliness and caring […]
Lori H.
Great customer service at the check in check out office. Great hygienist – Marge. Great dentist!
Florencia A.
The staff was friendly and efficient.
Hannah A.
Everyone is fantastic!
Janus H.
Professionalism and friendliness
Vicente H.
Dr. Stakem is very kind. I have had a lot of work done lately and it has been quick and painless.
Tracey K.
Good dental care and friendly service.
Brett P.
Polite and efficient staff, and I especially liked meeting the new dentist, Dr. Patel, I believe, as he was very welcoming and professional.
Margaret C.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
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We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

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Office Hours
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (574) 367-7000
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