jaw pain

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious condition that often goes unnoticed until it has caused extensive damage to teeth, gums, and the jawbone.  

The dentists at Fairfax Family Dental can identify and treat gum disease early, as well as take steps to repair late-stage damage. 

Learn how early treatment by the highly trained dentists at our Fairfax, VA, practice can stop gum disease in its tracks. 

Are You On the Path to Gum Disease? From Plaque to Tartar to Gum Disease

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial inflammation of the gums. Unfortunately, it is a silent disease and most people don't realize they have it until after significant damage has already occurred. It takes a trained dentist to identify gum disease in its early stage, called gingivitis, and stop it before it advances to periodontitis, which can damage the gum tissue and lead to tooth loss. Here is how gum disease develops:


Gingivitis starts as the pale yellow plaque that collects on teeth. Fortunately, with regular oral hygiene, you can remove plaque at home with simple brushing and flossing. However, if you skip a day or don't clean each tooth carefully, plaque quickly builds up.



If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, where bacteria thrives and attacks the protective enamel on your teeth. The more plaque that forms, the more tartar develops. Unfortunately, daily oral hygiene won't help at this stage. You need professional help to remove tartar.


Gum Disease

If the plaque and tartar are not removed, it eventually causes inflammation around the teeth. Once the bacteria collect below the gum line, it can progress to attacking the bone and ligaments surrounding the teeth and introducing an advanced phase of gum disease called periodontitis.

Is This an Emergency?

While gum disease typically progresses slowly, if you don't take action, you may need to seek emergency dental care. Common situations that could be caused by gum disease include root canal infections, a loose tooth, a dental abscess, or a swollen jaw. If you have a dental emergency, Fairfax Family Dental Care offers round-the-clock emergency care.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

gum disease

The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, and it occurs when plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, causing inflammation in the gums. If it goes untreated, you will develop periodontitis, which can take a serious toll on your teeth and gums. Symptoms include:  


  • Swollen gums
  • Discolored gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding
  • Gum recession


  • Pain while chewing
  • Advanced gum recession
  • Severe bad breath
  • A foul taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth 
  • Tooth loss

Do You Suspect Gum Disease? Request a Consultation

If you suspect you have periodontal disease, we recommend requesting a consultation with one of our dentists at Fairfax Family Dental Care. While regular tooth brushing can remove plaque and prevent gum disease, it takes professional techniques to remove tartar and treat advanced gum disease to restore your oral health. The earlier you seek treatment, the more likely the effects of gum disease can be reversed.

The dentists at our Fairfax practice have advanced training in specialized areas of dentistry. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to treat even complex dental cases all under one roof. By using advanced technology, we are able to identify oral health problems before they escalate.

In addition to scaling and root planing to help eradicate gum disease, our dentists also have the advanced restorative dentistry and periodontal skills to rebuild your smile if gum disease has caused serious damage to the teeth or gums.

Phone (703) 385-0303

Free Consultations for First-Time Patients

dental office
Fairfax Family Dental Care has a spacious and inviting office.

5-Star Reviews


Robert Sterling


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The hygienist and doctor at Fairfax Family Dental Care were knowledgeable, professional, courteous and friendly. They consistently provide excellent care.

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Shairzad Sindi


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Went in with a horrible toothache and ended up needing a root canal. They took care of it and I was still able to go the beach the next day!

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How We Treat Gum Disease

Treating the early stages of gum disease can improve your oral health almost immediately. It can also reverse gum disease entirely. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the severity of the condition.

For mild to moderate cases of gingivitis, your periodontal care may be as simple as a deep cleaning and the use of antiseptic rinses to get the inflammation under control. If necessary, we may also prescribe an antibiotic. However, advanced periodontitis may require surgical intervention.  

The goal of deep cleaning is to remove plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth, particularly below the gum line, and restore your oral health. If the gums have pulled away from the tooth and formed pockets, they can become filled with infection-causing bacteria. The good news is that periodontal pockets can be treated and reversed by scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. In addition to removing bacteria, it helps your gums reattach to the teeth.


In this step, plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of the tooth. Our team takes a gentle but thorough approach, using special instruments to clean each tooth carefully. 

Root Planing

This step removes plaque and tartar from roots of affected teeth. By also smoothing the roots, we can encourage gum reattachment to the tooth, which helps block new bacteria.  

More 5-Star Reviews


Giancarlos Perez


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My wife, 5-year old son, and myself visited this practice for the first time and we were impressed. No wait, quality service, and very knowledgeable staff. Ms. Elaine and Dr. Kamali were great. I recommend

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Lacey Bowersox


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My dental hygienist is always super friendly! I moved into DC, but keep coming back because the experience is so personable. Definitely worth the drive and they’re always very thorough .

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The Fairfax Family Dental Care office building.

Fairfax Family Dental Care

Our team of compassionate dental professionals uses state-of-the-art technology for every procedure we offer. As the premier emergency dentists in Fairfax, we are here to offer relief at any time of day or night, seven days a week. Our dentists are affiliated with professional associations including:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • Virginia Dental Association

To schedule an appointment or receive immediate dental care, call: (703) 385-0303 or contact us online.

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