To call common disease common would be an understatement — more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 in the United States have some degree of gum disease. Not only is gum disease common, it’s also one of the leading drivers of tooth loss, which makes treating this infection as early as possible critical for your overall dental health.
When it comes to how the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence treats gum disease, that depends entirely upon what stage your disease is in. Rest assured, both Drs. Jeff Yoshihara and Colin Au have the necessary experience to remedy or mitigate periodontal disease at any stage, but we urge you to read on to understand how your treatment options can go from a simple cleaning to surgery if left untreated.
The different stages of gum disease
Gum disease occurs when harmful bacteria make their way up under your gum line and begin to destroy the tissues around them.
In its earliest stage, gum disease presents itself as gingivitis, which is typically marked by inflammation in your gums, as well as redness, tenderness, and some bleeding when you brush.
If we don’t treat your gum disease during this early stage, it can progress into periodontitis, which can lead to:
- Gums that bleed regularly
- Tooth sensitivity
- Visibly receding gum line
- Loose teeth
- Changes in your bite and how your teeth fit together
- Tooth loss
The longer your periodontitis goes untreated, the more the bacteria can erode the soft and hard tissues in your teeth, gums, and jawbone.
Treating gum disease
If we spot a brewing problem, we can clear away the earliest stage of gum disease — gingivitis — with a simple cleaning. During this cleaning, we clear away the bacteria from under your gums.
If your gum disease has advanced to the point where your gums are starting to pull away from your teeth, we typically recommend a deep cleaning, which is also called scaling and root planing. During this procedure, we use a scaler to clear away plaque, hard tartar, and bacteria underneath your gum line. We then smooth the surfaces of your teeth to eliminate areas where bacteria can gather and to encourage your gums to reattach themselves to your teeth.
If your gum disease has progressed beyond the point in which a deep cleaning can help, we turn to a technique called flap surgery and pocket reduction. During this procedure, we pull your gums back to remove plaque and tartar and then we smooth them back over your teeth to eliminate any pockets.
As a last resort treatment for advanced gum disease, we may need to turn to gum or bone grafts to preserve your dental health.
If your gum disease progresses beyond our ability to reverse or halt the damage, you are facing tooth loss.
As you can see by the progressive list of treatment options for gum disease, it’s very much in your interest to keep up with your regular preventive dentistry, including dental exams and cleanings, so that we can help you stay one step ahead of gum disease.
For more information on your treatment options for gum disease, contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up an appointment,