Gum disease occurs is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth, usually because of poor oral hygiene. In its milder form, gum disease is called gingivitis. Left untreated, gum disease can turn into periodontitis, a serious condition that may require extensive therapy to treat.
When plaque builds up on your teeth, your gums become swollen and may bleed. You may notice other symptoms including bad breath, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and tender gums.
At this stage, there is no irreversible damage. We will diagnose gingivitis at your regular checkup and start treatment immediately. Treatment tends to involve a professional cleaning along with scaling and root planing. Scaling removes the tartar from your teeth below the gums, whereas root planing roughens the surface of teeth to prevent plaque from forming again. We will also give you advice on how to improve your oral hygiene at home.
Periodontitis occurs when your gingivitis goes untreated. Symptoms become more serious and can include receding gums, deep pockets, loose or misaligned teeth, and even tooth loss.
Treatment for periodontitis involves stopping the spread of the disease and repairing tissue. This often calls for surgical treatments. You may require some of the following:
- Flap surgery — This surgery involves cleaning the bacteria from under your gums and then decreasing the space between your gums and teeth to prevent bacteria from building up again. In some cases, flap surgery includes guided tissue regeneration. If this case for you, we will place a mesh fabric between your gums and bone to prevent gum tissue from growing where there should be bone.
- Bone grafts — Adding synthetic or real bone along to damaged areas of jawbone stimulates growth of new tissue.
- Tissue grafts — If your gums have receded or become thin, we can graft tissue from the roof of your mouth.