Gum Disease FAQs

We invite you to read the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our patients about preventing and treating gum disease.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. It’s a common problem that affects most people at some time or other in their lives.

Signs of gum disease are swollen or reddened gums. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, this is a sure sign of trouble beginning.

Gingivitis is the term for the less severe form of gum disease. It is caused by plaque, a film of bacteria, building up on the gums. Hardened plaque is called tartar. If left untreated, this plaque and tartar can begin to grown below the gum line. This is called periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease.

Periodontitis causes spaces of infection between your teeth and gums. These gradually separate your teeth from your gums, and eventually, the bone that supports your teeth is lost. Without the support, the teeth can fall out.

A procedure called scaling and root planing is often performed to remove plaque and tartar buildup. This is a deep cleaning procedure that scrapes off tartar and plaque and smooths the tooth surfaces to get rid of bacteria.

Unfortunately, some people get gum disease despite practicing good oral hygiene. For some people it is simply hereditary. Some medications and medical conditions can affect the health of the teeth and gums as well.

In severe cases, a surgical procedure may be performed to thoroughly remove diseased gum tissue.

Proper brushing and flossing, at least twice a day, greatly decreases the risk of gingivitis. Regular dental checkups are important, so that any signs of gum disease can be caught early and reversed before the problem becomes worse.