Our Edmonton dentists help patients prevent, detect and manage gum disease. Good oral hygiene practices and preventative therapy are essential in keeping your gums healthy.
Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the supporting tissues of the teeth, including the gums, gingiva, alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. Risk factors for gum disease include poor oral hygiene habits, smoking and systemic diseases that allow plaque to build up on the teeth and harden, eventually affecting the gums.
Gum disease is difficult to detect when it first starts to develop, and many patients only begin to notice symptoms when they have progressed past the early stages.
Untreated, gum disease typically progresses in the following stages:
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.
Over time, plaque hardens into tartar. As tartar and plaque continue to build up without being removed, they cause the gums to begin to recede from the teeth.
Eventually, pockets form between the gums and teeth, which become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may occur.
The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to deteriorate. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may even fall out. Moderate to severe bone loss in the jaw may occur.
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. If the disease is caught in the early stages, preventive therapy will be recommended.
Otherwise, your treatment will fall into one of the following categories:
For patients with a mild form of gum disease, non-surgical gum therapy may be sufficient to reverse it. Non-surgical gum therapy is essentially a deep cleaning performed by a dental hygienist.
The hygienist will scrape away the plaque and tartar around and below the gum line, and smooth out any rough areas left behind through a process called scaling and root planing.
For patients with more advanced forms of gum disease, more invasive surgical treatments may be necessary to reverse the effects. There are a few different types of surgical gum therapy, including gum grafting and bone grafting.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, our dental team will recommend that you have regular dental examinations and preventative therapy, usually four times a year, to keep the disease under control.