Periodontal Disease Treatment (Gum Disease)

Gum disease is a serious condition that affects people from all walks of life. Our dentistry provides periodontal services for all stages of gum disease to restore your oral health.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, periodontitis, and gum disease are all phrases used to describe an infection in the gums and bone surrounding your teeth. Healthy bone and gum structures help keep a tooth’s root intact. When food and plaque get trapped between the gums and teeth, it can lead to infection, resulting in gum disease.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and one of the earliest stages of gum disease. Common symptoms of gingivitis include minor redness, swelling, or light bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis turns into a more serious infection known as periodontal disease, which can lead to permanent structural damage.

Identifying gum disease as early as possible is crucial to preventing bone and tooth loss. To determine if you have periodontitis, and its severity, we will:

  1. Review your medical history. Certain risk factors, such as genetics, taking certain medications or smoking, can increase the likelihood of gum disease.
  2. Examine your teeth and gums.  If you have severe plaque/tartar build up or your gums bleed easily are both indicators that disease is present.
  3. Measure gum pocket depth. We place a dental probe between your teeth and gums, throughout different areas within your mouth.
    • 1-3 mm is a healthy and normal gum pocket depth
    • 3-5 mm is early or mild periodontitis
    • 5-7 mm is moderate periodontitis
    • 7-10 mm is advanced periodontitis
  4. Take x-rays of your mouth. Dental x-rays can reveal if you’ve suffered any bone loss in areas where deeper gum pocket depths are present.

This disease is common but it is preventable. It is typically a result of poor oral hygiene, such as not flossing and brushing twice a day or getting regular dental checkups. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment methods below.

Illustration of periodontal/gum disease progress being checked on a row of teeth with plaque on them
  • What causes gum disease?

    There are three usual causes of gum disease. The first and most common is chronic periodontitis. This occurs when oral hygiene is neglected and bacteria accumulate beneath the gum line, eventually turning into a hard substance called tartar. Tartar is not easily removed by brushing and flossing and requires professional cleaning. If left untreated the gums become inflamed and damaged and bone loss occurs. The second cause is aggressive periodontitis, this is believed to have a genetic component as it shows up in a small number of families. It moves quickly and can even be seen in children. The last and the rarest cause is necrotizing periodontal disease. This can occur in people with immune issues and/or chronic diseases. The soft tissues and bone are compromised due to a lack of blood flow to the area.

    Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
    You should talk to the dentist if you notice any of the following:

    • Your gums bleed easily
    • Sore gums
    • Bad breath
    • Gums that pull away from your teeth
    • Loose teeth
    • Pain when chewing
    • New spaces between teeth
    • Swollen gums
    • Pus forming between teeth and gums
    • A change in your bite

    The dental team can help determine how serious your issue is and what level of treatment you need.

  • What is gum recession?

    Receding gums affect about half of Americans over the age of 50. But, young people can experience gum recession too. You may be genetically predisposed to gum recession. Some people are born with thin gums. Other times the environment might contribute to recession. Things like aggressive brushing, trauma, surgery, or ill-fitting partials can cause recession.

    Treatment of Gum Recession
    If you notice a tooth looks long or you experience sensitivity or pain when brushing and flossing, you could have gum recession. Be sure to come in and have one of the doctor’s take a look. If you have recession we can typically graft a small amount of skin from your palate and patch it over the receding area. The treatment helps protect the tooth from further damage. It is a minor procedure that can be done for a single tooth or multiple teeth depending on your need.

  • How do I prevent periodontal disease or gum disease?

    Regular home care is critical to arrest the progression of gum disease. Within a few hours of a careful cleaning, the bacteria begin to repopulate and adhere to the teeth. Plaque left undisturbed will start to harden and mineralize within 24 hours. And deeper gum pockets require even more diligence to prevent the bacteria from burrowing further into the foundation of your teeth.

    Since the deepest sections of gum pockets previously damaged by bacteria can be difficult to reach at home, a particular maintenance schedule with us proves essential. We can customize your plan to include 2, 3 or 4 visits a year depending on the severity of disease and its response to treatment and home care.

    If our combined efforts don’t halt your gum disease, we will suggest referral to a trusted specialist, known as a periodontist. With specialized training in many gum conditions, further treatment may be recommended.

    Current research continues to establish clear links between bacterial disease in your mouth and ailments in other parts of the body. Studies show a link between oral bacteria and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancers. The integration of oral and general health has never been better understood than it is currently.

    Bleeding gums provide a direct pathway into the bloodstream, a journey that toxic oral bacteria can quickly take. In fact, if bleeding gums connected into one single patch, it would create a 2 x 2-inch square. If an open wound of this size existed on your skin, infection would be a concern. Bleeding, infected gums offer this open door to your body and sit saturated in colonies of bacteria. This helps explain why researchers continue to identify oral bacteria deposits in various areas of our bodies.

    Diabetes and other auto-immune disorders lower the body’s ability to fight infection, allowing uncontrolled gum disease to advance faster and with more destruction. Research also confirms that the inflammation in the mouth can aggravate diabetes, making it harder to control. This two-way relationship between two chronic conditions emphasizes the importance of optimal oral health.

What are you waiting for?

We strive to provide high-quality dental care. Schedule an appointment today if you are in need of periodontal disease treatment.