Gum Disease

Gum disease is also known as, Periodontal Disease.  Gum Disease is an infection in the gums. It can progress to the bone if it is not treated.  Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults.  It is virtually pain free, many patients do not know they have the disease. If your Gums Bleed when you floss your teeth is a key sign of Gum Disease.  During a hygiene appointment, the hygienist will check for signs of Periodontal Disease by measuring the depth of the pockets that form between your teeth and the attached gums.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth).  If the Plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease (gum disease) forms just below the gum line, and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  1. Gingivitis - This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
  2. Periodontitis - If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or lead to an extraction by a dentist.

Periodontitis has now been linked to a variety of other systemic health concerns including:

Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings
  • Pregnancy

While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:

  • Gums that bleed when you floss
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Treating gum disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case.

Our Standard of Care Includes:

  • Debridement, or deep cleaning of all debris and toxins from the teeth and surrounding tissue. This is done by using a piezo ultrasonic scaler and hand scaling. Our patients are kept comfortable with the use of the local anesthetic, Novocaine.
  • In some cases we utilize CO 2 laser therapy to sterilize all pockets (space between the gums and teeth).  With repeated use, this will stimulate the gums to re-attach to the teeth and grow new bone.
  • In cases requiring surgery; the dentist will utilize a Waterlase Laser to eliminate periodontal pockets and Emdogain™ to promote new bone growth.
  • Nutraceuticals or vitamins; which are specifically formulated by the Pharmaden Company, are used to encourage healthy bone and gums.
  • Our office uses a low-dose antibiotic, Arestin™, delivered under the gums or Doxycycline, taken orally to help fight infection and stop the progression of periodontal disease.
  • Nitrous Oxide or Oral Conscious sedation are available if you have high anxiety about going to the dentist.

YouTube Video on Arestin.

We encourage our patients to use an electric toothbrush, a Water Pik (water flossing device), with an antiseptic mouth rinse, Perioguard daily.


Preventing gum disease

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile.

You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.  Gum Disease is a VERY SERIOUS problem.  If your gums are diseased; that disease gets into your body every time you swallow, eat or drink.  It can cause SEVERE HEALTH issues; heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even low birth weight babies.  Please make an appointment today; the earlier it is treated, the better off you will be. Call Now! (518) 399-4696

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