Periodontal Disease Treatment (Gum Disease)

Gum disease is a common oral health condition that can affect anyone. Our dental office provides periodontal services to treat all stages of gum disease and restore your oral health.

Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease or periodontitis, is an infection that affects the gums and bone surrounding your teeth. Healthy gums and bones are important to keep your teeth in place. When food and plaque get stuck between your teeth and gums, it can lead to an infection, resulting in gum disease.

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, characterized by minor redness, swelling, or light bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious infection known as periodontal disease, which can cause permanent damage to the teeth and bone. 

Identifying gum disease as early as possible is important to prevent tooth and bone loss. To diagnose periodontitis and determine its severity, we will review your medical history, examine your teeth and gums, measure gum pocket depth, and take x-rays of your mouth. 

Risk factors such as genetics, certain medications, and smoking can increase the likelihood of gum disease. Severe plaque and tartar buildup or bleeding gums are indicators of gum disease.

The depth of the gum pockets is also measured using a dental probe. A healthy gum pocket depth ranges from 1 to 3 mm. Gum pocket depths of 3 to 5 mm indicate early or mild periodontitis, while depths of 5 to 7 mm indicate moderate periodontitis. Advanced periodontitis is diagnosed when gum pocket depths reach 7 to 10 mm.

Gum disease is preventable and is usually caused by poor oral hygiene practices, such as not flossing or brushing your teeth twice a day or neglecting regular dental checkups. Please keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment methods for gum disease.

Illustration of a bottom row of teeth showing signs of periodontal/gum disease with the gum line receding
  • What are the signs of periodontal disease or gum disease?

    Periodontal disease or gum disease is a serious condition that can cause discomfort and harm if left untreated. The first sign of periodontitis is an irritated gum line that can bleed or cause discomfort when brushing, flossing, or cleaning your teeth professionally. If not treated, the gums will start to recede and pull away from the teeth, creating spaces called periodontal pockets that can quickly fill with harmful accumulations. Your dentist will measure the depth of these pockets to determine the extent of the condition and what treatment is needed to correct the problem. If gum disease progresses and reaches the jawbone and the connective tissues of teeth, the jawbone can deteriorate, and teeth can be lost.

    Some of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease include:

    •  Gum recession
    •   “Long teeth”
    •   Tooth mobility (loose tooth/movement)
    •   Sore teeth when you chew/bite
    •   Spaces between teeth
    •   Deep pockets under your gums
    •   Visible bone loss on X-rays
    •   Heavy tartar buildup
    •   Bad breath
    •   Bleeding when you brush and floss
    •   Swollen, red gums

    It’s important to note that if you smoke, vape, or use tobacco products, you may not notice the same symptoms as someone who doesn’t. Your tissues could appear “healthy” due to the lack of bleeding or swelling, even if the disease is present.

  • How is periodontal disease or gum disease treated?

    Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can be treated effectively in two ways depending on its severity. The standard treatment for periodontitis is scaling and root planing. This procedure effectively manages the condition in its early to moderate stages and reverses its harmful effects. During scaling and root planing treatment, your dentist will access the areas below the gum line and between the teeth to remove harmful accumulations of plaque, tartar, and oral bacteria. The root surfaces will also be smoothed out to prevent future accumulations. This will help your gums begin the healing process and eventually reattach themselves to the teeth.

    The second treatment is called bone grafting, often required when bacteria and plaque have reached the jawbone and caused some deterioration and decay. To regenerate the damaged jawbone, your dentist must surgically access it and apply proteins and artificial bone-like material to the areas of decay. This will help encourage new bone growth. Bone grafting is often necessary for strengthening the jawbone to support dental implants and replace missing teeth.

  • How do I know if I have periodontal disease or gum disease?

    The initial symptoms of gum disease or periodontal disease are inflamed and red gums, bleeding gums while brushing or flossing, and untreated gingivitis. More advanced signs of gum disease may include tooth loss and exposure of the tooth’s root. Periodontitis or gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

  • What causes gum disease?

    There are three common causes of gum disease. Chronic periodontitis is the first and most prevalent, which happens when oral hygiene is neglected, and bacteria accumulate under the gum line, forming tartar. Tartar cannot be easily removed by brushing and flossing and requires professional cleaning. The gums become inflamed and damaged if left untreated, leading to bone loss. The second cause is aggressive periodontitis, which is believed to have a genetic component as it appears in a small number of families. It progresses rapidly and can even be seen in children. The last and rarest cause is necrotizing periodontal disease, which can occur in people with immune issues and chronic diseases. The soft tissues and bone become compromised due to a lack of blood flow to the area.

  • What is gum recession?

    Gum recession is a common dental problem that affects around 50% of Americans aged 50 or above, but it can also occur in young people. While some individuals may be genetically predisposed to this condition, it can also be caused by environmental factors such as aggressive brushing, trauma, surgery, or ill-fitting partials. You may have gum recession if your tooth looks more prolonged than usual or if you experience sensitivity or pain while brushing and flossing. In such cases, visiting a dentist and getting it checked is advisable. Typically, gum recession can be treated by grafting a small amount of skin from your palate and patching it over the affected area. This minor procedure can be done for single or multiple teeth, depending on your needs. The treatment helps to protect the affected tooth from further damage.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about periodontal disease treatment (gum disease), contact our office using the buttons below.

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Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

6930 Cahaba Valley Rd
Birmingham, AL 35242
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Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: By Appointment Only
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(205) 991-7840