What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) as well. These include:
Effects of Gum Disease
Gum disease can be a cause of receding gums. This is an infection of the gums that occurs when bacteria become lodged between the tooth and gum. The bacteria eventually eat away at the bone and the supporting tissues at the base of the tooth. As the bone recedes, so does the surrounding gum tissue
Gum disease may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system, this can cause infection in other parts of the body. These infections can sometimes be serious, such as an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis). Additionally, research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke can all be linked to oral bacteria.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Fortunately, the early stages of gum disease can often be reversed with proper brushing and flossing. Good dental hygiene habits will keep plaque from building up.
A professional cleaning is the only way to remove plaque that has hardened into tartar. At our office, we clean and “scale” your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gumline. If your condition is more severe we may perform a root planing procedure. This helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth, making it less likely for plaque to deposit there. Following a scaling and root planing, we offer specialized deep cleanings can be done as an ongoing periodontal therapy.
Surgical procedure may also be used to treat more advanced gum disease.
Pocket depth reduction- This involves opening up the affected gum tissue to remove the disease-causing bacteria as well as any build up. Some cases may require smoothing and recontouring to allow the gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone during healing. The procedure also repositions the gum tissue so that it is easier to keep clean in the future.
Regeneration- This procedure is the pocket depth reduction with the addition of membranes, bone grafts or other proteins to stimulate the body’s natural ability to regenerate healthy gum tissue and bone.
Soft tissue grafts- For this procedure we take healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth or other areas of the mouth and use it to cover exposed root surfaces and repair receding gums.
We encourage our patients to schedule and keep regular check-ups. This is the very best way to prevent gum disease altogether or diagnose early so that it does not lead to a more serious condition.