Learn more about gingivitis and how we can treat it at Envisage Dental
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum surrounding a tooth causing loss of the bone that holds and supports that tooth. If left untreated, this will eventually result in the loss of the tooth even when the tooth has no sign of dental caries.
The three stages of gum disease — from least to most severe — are gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
What can cause gum disease?
The only culprit in gum disease is bacteria. Bacteria constantly forms a sticky, white film (plaque) on your teeth. Your body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.
If not treated, the bacteria will destroy the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth, and the teeth may become loose and have to be removed. If you do not remove the plaque, it can harden and turn into tartar (calculus). Additionally, dental plaque will continue to form on the tartar. Brushing or flossing cannot remove tartar; a dental practitioner will need to conduct a dental cleaning to remove it.
How can it be treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection in the gum caused by the presence of plaque and tartar adjacent to the gum. The dentist performs scaling (scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line). In areas where the infection has gone deep into the gum involving the root surface, the dentist will perform root planing. Root planing gets rid of tartar on the tooth root, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. This procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.
The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the disease. Gum disease cannot be cured or controlled by the once-in-a-while scaling and root planing done by dentists. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth every day, even after you have received extensive treatment. Brushing and flossing your teeth (not your gum) clean before bed is the key to controlling gum disease.