Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that can lead to jawbone damage, tooth loss, and other health problems. Early-stage gum disease that is limited to the gums is known as gingivitis, while advanced gum disease is known as periodontitis. Although factors such as tobacco use, genetics, certain medications, and pregnancy can be risk factors for gum disease, the biggest cause is the build-up of plaque and tartar due to poor dental hygiene. Studies have shown that nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 have at least mild gum disease, so it’s a very common ailment. No matter how progressed your gum disease is, Bunker Hill Dentistry can provide effective treatment to improve your smile, defeat mouth pain, and protect the health of your teeth and body. Check your symptoms for gum disease. How We Treat Gum Disease Your treatment plan will depend on what stage of gum disease you’re in, gingivitis or periodontitis. Treatments for Gingivitis Remember: an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure! No matter how progressed your gingivitis is, the sooner you put a good oral care routine into practice–brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and undergoing routine dental cleanings–the lower the odds of the disease worsening. We may employ any or all of the following methods to treat your gingivitis: Root planing and scaling: If you have plaque and/or tartar under your gums, we may opt for this non-surgical procedure. “Scaling” refers to scraping away bacteria from above and below the gum line, and “planing” is smoothing out rough spots on the root of your tooth so that the gums have a clean surface to attach to. Deep cleaning, irrigation, and disinfection: An oral irrigation–passing a stream of high-pressure water through the diseased area–is often done after a planing and scaling to flush out bacteria jarred loose from the procedure. It may also be done in conjunction with a deep cleaning or application of an antimicrobial. Medication: Antibiotics and antimicrobials can be used either alone or in combination with other methods to treat gum disease in certain cases. Which method is appropriate for your situation will depend on an in-depth periodontal exam and X-ray. Plaque buildup and red gums are common signs of gingivitis. Treatments for Periodontitis These are the actions we can take to resolve the effects of periodontitis: Gum grafts: When gums recede due to periodontitis, they can’t grow back. However, a gum graft can replace lost gum tissue by surgically transferring it from another area, such as the roof of your mouth, to the affected area. A gum graft is a relatively quick and easy procedure done under local anesthetic with a recovery time as little as a week. Bone grafts: Periodontal disease that is advanced enough can destroy bone in your jaw. A bone graft with material from either your jaw or a tissue bank can replace that lost bone so that you don’t also lose teeth as a result of the periodontitis. Or, it can support an implant if you’ve already experienced tooth loss. Learn more about bone grafts and understand who make good candidates, the different bone graft procedures, how the procedure works, and its effectiveness. Flap surgery: In severe instances of periodontitis, the dentist must use a scalpel to peel back the diseased tissue so that he can clean and reshape the gums at the root of the tooth. Then he sutures the gum tissue back into place to heal. Laser surgery: Laser therapy is similar to flap surgery except that the dentist uses a dental laser to remove diseased tissue while leaving healthy tissue alone. This less-invasive technique can lower the risk of infection and bleeding and allows for a faster recovery time. Tooth replacement: If you’ve lost teeth as a result of periodontitis, or require tooth extraction, we can replace them with implants of a single artificial tooth, multiple teeth, or even an entire row of teeth. Tooth replacement is often done in connection with bone grafting. Why Bunker Hill Dentistry? Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le Specialists – Your gum disease treatment procedure will be carried out by Dr. Le, a dentist experienced in both cosmetic and general procedures. Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour. Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry. Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map. How Do You Know if You Have Gum Disease? Check These Symptoms If you have any of these symptoms, it may be a sign of gum disease: Sensitive gums: One of the first indicators of gum disease is red or swollen gums that bleed easily upon brushing or flossing. Changes in your teeth: If you notice your teeth feeling loose, your bite feeling “off,” or your teeth hurting upon drinking cold liquids, these are all signs of gum disease. Sensitivity can be caused by gums pulling away from the teeth and exposing the dentin in the teeth, while loose teeth can be caused by gum disease weakening the jawbone. Bad breath: Bad breath or a persistent bad taste in the mouth can be a symptom of periodontitis, due to an overabundance of oral bacteria. Mouth sores: Lesions in the mouth that resemble canker sores are a sign of gum disease that may be accompanied by swollen gums. If the sores don’t improve within two weeks, seek dental help. How Did You Get Gum Disease? Bacteria may be popularly associated with disease, but it serves many important functions in the body. Everyone has oral bacteria that work with their immune system to fight off germs that try to enter through the mouth. However, when that bacteria, or harmful bacteria that can take hold in the mouth, stick to the tooth structure and aren’t removed by brushing or flossing, it develops into plaque. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into calculus, which if still not removed can in turn begin to irritate the gums and grow down into the roots of teeth. So as you can see, gum disease isn’t a sudden injury; it’s a slow onset caused by the build-up of “gunk” in your mouth that you can easily eradicate at first. However, the more time that passes, gum disease advances to the point where oral hygiene at home is no longer sufficient to treat it. Why It’s Important for Your Overall Health to Treat Gum Disease There is extensive evidence that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease is tied to systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, premature births, and more. For example, people with gum disease are up to three times as likely to have a heart attack or other serious cardiovascular event. While these may be mere associations and not direct cause-and-effect, it’s certain that ongoing inflammation and infection are damaging to health, even when it’s located somewhere as small and seemingly insignificant as a little tooth. So don’t chance it! Put that toothbrush to work and protect yourself from not just oral disease, but possibly whole-body disease, as well. Schedule An Appointment Today Not been to Bunker Hill Dentistry before? To help you prepare for your first visit, read our new patient information page.