Gum disease is one of the most common diseases known to mankind and is responsible for most tooth loss. Gum disease usually begins in the soft tissue or “gums” surrounding teeth and can spread to the underlying bone that supports teeth.
The body's response to bacterial induced chronic gum inflammation has been implicated as one risk factor that contributes to coronary heart disease, strokes, and dementia, which is why it is so important to prevent gum disease in the first place.
Prevention and treatment of gum disease is something that Dr. Donald Burger and the Manhattan Dental team have excelled at for more 30 years. We use the most up to date, pain-free techniques, including lasers and locally introduced antibiotics, to ensure the restoration of your periodontal health.
What causes gum disease?
There are two main causes of gum disease. One is plaque, which consists of food debris, bacteria, and sticky substances in the saliva called mucins. The second is tartar, which is plaque that has been calcified or hardened by calcium salts in the saliva. There are also many factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease. These include genetics, smoking, alcohol, stress, certain medications, and diabetes.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease that merely affects soft tissue is called gingivitis, while gum disease that affects both soft tissue and bone is called periodontitis. Gingivitis, if properly treated at our Manhattan dental office and with good home care, is completely reversible. If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose or fall out, or require removal by Dr. Burger.
Treating Gum Disease
There are generally two ways gums are treated: surgically and non-surgically. Most gum disease is initially treated non-surgically with in-office deep cleanings called “scaling and root planning.” This type of deep cleaning provides a healthy, clean surface that makes it easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.
If there is significant involvement of the bone, surgery may be necessary. Types of surgery include pocket depth reduction, regeneration, and soft-tissue grafting. Dr. Burger will recommend the procedure that is best suited to the condition of your teeth and gums.
Prevention—Worth a Pound of Cure
The best way to prevent gum disease is the daily removal of plaque using proper brushing and flossing techniques. Because gum disease is so insidious, it is important to have regular hygiene visits and periodontal examinations at our Manhattan dental office every six months.
If it’s been a while since your last checkup and cleaning, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our Manhattan dental office, conveniently located on the Upper West Side! Dr. Burger and our team are excited to get you on the road to ideal gum health.