Gum & Periodontal Disease Treatment

What is Gum or Periodontal Disease?

CleaningPeriodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth.  Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease. 

Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life.  Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.  Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

Risks Associated with Non Treatment of Gum Disease

RisksResearch has shown that periodontal disease is associated with many other systemic diseases. For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other disease in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore,  treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

This infographic helps illustrate the importance of keeping your gums healthy.  Research is ongoing and we are learning more everyday how a holistic approach, where we are concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts, is the ideal way to look at your mouth.

Symptoms of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Symptoms of periodontal disease include red and swollen gums, persistent bad breath, and receding gums and loose teeth. Smoking, certain illnesses (such as diabetes), older age, and other factors increase the risk for periodontal disease. Without proper treatment, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal Disease

Treatment of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

SRPOften called a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is the first approach for treating periodontal disease. This procedure is a deep cleaning to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar). Scaling involves scraping tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing focuses on eliminating tartar and plaque below the gum and detoxifying the root surfaces where the disease occurs. Obtaining smooth roots and flushing out the pockets allows for healthy reattachment of the gums to the root surfaces. Your dentist will reevaluate the success of this treatment in follow-up visits. If deep periodontal pockets and infection remain, periodontal surgery may be recommended.

We love this video because you can see the deep cleaning procedure in action.  Additionally, you can view what happens BELOW the gum line; the stuff that normally goes unseen: