Gum / Periodontal Disease

Gum disease occurs when there is extremely high levels of bad bacteria and dental tartar on the teeth and gums. This can occur from improper oral hygiene practices, systemic diseases, and lack of regular dental visits. Over time, this bacteria will release poisons and toxins that break down the gums and the jawbone that supports the teeth. This will eventually cause teeth to become loose and painful, and lead to tooth loss, cause bad breath, and lead to an unpleasing aesthetic appearance.

There are different types and stages of gum of disease. In the initial stages, gum disease is not painful. If it is not treated, it will progress to a more severe stage and become painful.


* Please note the consequences of gum disease: inflamed gums, gum recession, and bone loss around the tooth. *

The following are different stages and types of gum disease:

Gingivitis: This is the initial stage of gum disease. This occurs when dental plaque and tartar cause elevated bacterial levels and release their toxins. The gums appear red and swollen. They also may bleed upon brushing. With proper homecare and regular dental visits, any harm that has been caused can be reversed.

Chronic Periodontitis: This occurs when there is long standing plaque, tartar, and dental bacteria that have not been eliminated from the gums and teeth for a long period of time. This can also be the result of systemic diseases and medicines. The poisons that the bacteria produce break down the gum and the jawbone that supports the teeth. The gums are red and swollen, and can bleed upon brushing. The teeth themselves may even become loose at this point. There are mild, moderate, and severe stages to this.

Unfortunately this damage can not be undone; it can only be managed and maintained. This can be accomplished by excellent homecare, professional dental visits every 3 to 4 months, and management of any systemic disease with a medical doctor.

Signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Swollen gums
  • Red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Periodontal /Jaw Abscess
  • Bad Breath
  • Painful gums
  • Sensitivity of teeth
Other than these dental symptoms, gum disease is also linked to the following health problems:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Respiratory disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Autoimmune complications
  • Various medications such as those for seizures, high blood pressure, and transplant drugs.

As you can see, gum disease has serious oral and systemic consequences, and should not be taken lightly. Seeking immediate help is of great importance in order to preserve and maintain healthy teeth, gums, and jawbone.

Commonly asked questions regarding gum disease

Why do my gums bleed when I brush?

Bleeding gums are not a normal situation and should be taken seriously, in the same manner that bleeding anywhere in the body would. When gums bleed, it is a process by which the body is sending a signal that it is not healthy, and there is an atypical disease process going on in the mouth. Immediate dental attention is needed, even if there is no pain.

What are treatments for gum disease?

Gum disease treatments can include scalings and root planings (deep gum cleaning with anesthesia), gum surgery, laser therapy, or antibiotic therapy.

  • Scaling and Root Planing – A deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root. The roots of the teeth are smoothed and cleaned and plaque and bacteria are removed.
  • Periodontal Gum / Flap Surgery – Flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that may have been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
  • Periodontal Laser Therapy – A dental laser is used to access and remove the inflamed gum tissue from around the root of the tooth. When the infected tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the root scaling begins. This involves scraping off the calculus and plaque built up below the gumline and around the root. The dentist then smooths the root with instruments to remove any rough spots that might attract bacteria and cause future infections. The area between the gum and the root can then regenerate during the healing process.
  • Antibiotic Therapy – Antibiotics or antimicrobial medications may be used to fight infection and reduce the size of the gum pockets that have occurred because of the gum disease. As the infection subsides, swelling and inflammation are reduced.
Why is my dentist recommending a scaling and root planing in addition to my regular cleaning?

A regular cleaning is needed for people who have good oral hygiene, and have no gum disease evident. A dental scaling is necessary when there is some bone loss and dental pocketing around the teeth which is causing gum disease. When this occurs, the dentist needs to clean underneath the gum with anesthesia to remove the tartar and bacteria. Without the anesthesia, the procedure would be too uncomfortable, and the dentist may not be able to do a thorough job.

If I have gum disease do I need to have dental cleanings more often?

Yes. People who have gum disease will need to have dental cleanings every 3 or 4 months.

What is Arestin?

Arestin is a localized antibiotic that placed around the teeth in order to help stop the bacterial process. It is to be used in conjunction with other periodontal therapy. It may not be suitable for people with certain drug allergies.

What can I do at home to prevent or manage my gum disease?

It is important to make sure that you brush teeth at least twice daily, and floss at least once a day. It is important to follow the directions of your dentist. In addition, if there are any other health problems, make sure that you are under care of medical doctor as well.

Call El Barrio Dental Studio today at (212) 369-0680 to schedule a consultation.

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