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. Periodontal disease is a very serious dental disease that affects many people. It is caused by bacteria from plaque formations on the teeth.

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.

Nearly half of all adults suffer from periodontitis to some extent—periodontitis is also referred to as gum disease and occurs when the gums are left exposed to harmful bacteria, tartar and plaque for an extended period of time. This can be caused by poor flossing habits and build-up between the teeth. If left untreated, it can progress and lead to bone and tooth loss.

Illustration of a bottom row of teeth showing signs of periodontal/gum disease with the gum line receding
  • How do you identify if gum disease is present?

    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. Exam 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.
  • What are the signs of periodontal disease or gum disease?

    The earliest sign of periodontitis is an irritated gum line that might present some discomfort or bleeding when you brush, floss or have your teeth cleaned professionally. If not treated, the gums will start to retract and pull away from the teeth. This creates spaces between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets that can quickly become filled with harmful accumulations. Your dentist will typically measure the depths of these pockets to determine how far the condition has spread and what treatment is needed to correct the problem. If gum disease eventually makes its way down to the jawbone and the connective tissues of teeth, the jawbone can deteriorate, and teeth can be lost.

  • How is periodontal disease or gum disease treated?

    Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is effectively treated in two ways, which treatment you receive depends on the severity of the gum disease.

    Scaling and root planning are recognized as the standard treatment for periodontitis. The procedure is highly effective in managing the condition in its early to moderate stages. It also does an excellent job of reversing its harmful effects. When providing scaling and root planing treatment, your dentist will access the areas below the gum line and between the teeth and remove harmful accumulations of plaque, tartar and oral bacteria. Then the root surfaces will be smoothed out to prevent future accumulations. Your gums should then begin the healing process and eventually reattach themselves to the teeth.

    The second treatment is called bone grafting and is often required when bacteria and plaque have reached the jawbone and caused some amount of deterioration and decay. Your dentist must surgically access the damaged jawbone in order to regenerate it. This is accomplished by applying proteins and artificial bone-like material to the areas of decay. This will help encourage new bone growth. Bone grafting is often a necessary step for strengthening the jawbone so that it can support dental implants to replace missing teeth.

More questions?

If you have any questions about periodontal disease (gum disease) treatment please contact our office and we will be happy to answer any questions.