Gum disease treatment in Vancouver, BC

Gum disease is also known as ‘periodontal disease’. Periodontal means ‘around the tooth,’ a fitting term since gum disease attacks the gums and bones that surround and support the tooth. Gum disease often starts off as gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum tissues caused by plaque and bacteria. With gingivitis, gums may be sore and bleed while brushing or flossing. However, many times the symptoms of gingivitis go unnoticed until the condition progresses to gum disease.

Not every case of periodontal disease is preceded by gingivitis. Like gingivitis, early symptoms of periodontal disease may be silent. If symptoms are present, they will usually include:

  • Halitosis
  • Inflamed, red gums
  • Bleeding after brushing or flossing
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

If left untreated for long enough, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease. However, gum disease is usually preventable by following a proper oral hygiene regimen and maintaining regular visits with your dentist for checkups and cleanings. In the absence of good oral hygiene, plaque and tartar are given an opportunity to  build up on the teeth. Eventually, this buildup will spread below the gum line. Since you cannot reach the area below the gums with a toothbrush, the plaque and bacteria will fester and will lead to inflammation and infection. At this point, a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing done by your dentist will be necessary to clean the pockets below the gum line. Once the bacteria is removed, your gums will be given a chance to heal. If the gum disease was not badly advanced, this may be the only intervention necessary. Your dentist will then give you suggestions on how to prevent gum disease from recurring. In cases where damage has already been done to the teeth, gum tissues or bone, periodontal surgery may be necessary to rejuvenate the affected areas.

A growing body of research is starting to show that untreated gum disease can contribute to or worsen other medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory ailments. Since gum disease sometimes does not present symptoms, it is important to see your dentist every six months for cleanings, especially if you have a history or family history of gum disease.