It is estimated that a majority of adults in the United States will develop or currently have gum disease. The most common form is gingivitis, which is caused when plaque and tartar are not fully removed from the teeth, allowing bacteria to infect the gums.

In most cases, treating gingivitis requires little more than professional dental hygiene and teeth cleaning appointments coupled with a more rigorous at-home routine. But sometimes patients require more extensive care, which is where our in-house periodontist (dentist specializing in gums) can help. Call (781) 396-8558 today.

Woman pointing to her gum disease, a red, swollen gumline

Gum Disease Symptoms

Left undetected or untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious oral health issue that has also been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and complications with pregnancy and diabetes. Symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Gum swelling or redness
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Gum recession
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Sensitive or loose teeth

Periodontitis can also infect the bone and connective tissue around your teeth, resulting in tooth loss. At this advanced stage, gum disease treatment may require scaling and root planning, laser dentistry treatments, and other advanced services to protect your teeth and prevent serious systemic issues.

A dentist inspecting the gums of a young patient

Risk Factors

A poor oral hygiene routine places you at a higher risk. Brushing your teeth after every meal and snack, flossing daily, and visiting our office for regularly scheduled cleanings is often the best defense. However, good oral hygiene alone may not be sufficient to prevent gum disease.

Other risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Certain medications
  • Hormonal changes
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer and HIV/AIDS treatments

The most effective way for prevention is to brush twice a day and floss daily and to visit our dentists for professional cleanings. These visits give us an opportunity to detect even the slightest gum infection and begin treating the issue before significant problems develop.

Gum Disease Treatment

If we diagnose you with gum disease, it’s important to treat you as soon as possible. The stage of you have will determine what treatment we give you.

If you’re in the early stage of gum disease, you most likely have gingivitis. Dr. Clancy will recommend a root planing and scaling to remove the plaque and tartar from underneath the gum line. We may also put antibiotic solution underneath your gums if your disease is bad enough.

Once the gum disease progresses to a further stage, the treatments become more intense. The next step is a flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery where we lift back your gums to remove tartar. We then place the gums over the teeth where they should rest to protect your tooth best.

When gum disease takes over, it may also affect your bone density in your jaw. To prevent your teeth from falling out, we may need to give you a bone graft to restore lost bone mass.

If you also experience receding gums, we will need to give you a gum graft to restore your gums back to their original position.

Every patient is different. Depending on how far your gum disease has progressed will determine your treatment. Our ultimate goal is to remove the bacteria and tartar from underneath your gums and restore your gums back to their original position. If you show any signs or symptoms, it’s important to visit us for a treatment as soon as possible. Without treatment, tooth loss becomes a possibility.

If you live in or around Woburn, Winchester, and the Greater Boston Area, and are suffering from any of the symptoms of gum disease, please call to schedule an appointment at (781) 396-8558 Divine Smiles today.