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Gum Diseases

Preventive Dentistry  |  Root Canals  Crowns and Bridges
Gum Diseases  Tooth Extractions (including Wisdom Tooth)
Sleep Dentistry  Cavities/Fillings  Dentures

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. The two forms of gum disease are gingivitis, a mild form that is reversible with good oral hygiene, and periodontitis, a more severe form that can damage the soft tissues and bone that support teeth.

If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.  In its early stages, gum disease is usually painless, and many people are not aware that they have it. In more advanced cases, gum disease can cause sore and bleeding gums and pain when chewing.  It also causes bad breath.

What causes Gum Disease?

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn't’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. 

Gingivitis--Reversible Gum Disease

The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.”  In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist.  It does not involve bone loss.

Periodontitis--Involving Bone loss and Damaging Your Heart and Other Organs

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis”. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Periodontitis and Your General Health

Due to chronic infection of the gums, our body produces high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which increases risks for heart attack, stroke and other systemic diseases.  Periodontitis may also causes erectile dysfunction and impotence in man.  Women are more susceptible to gum disease due to hormonal fluctuations.  Periodontitis during pregnancy may also harm your baby.  Once treated, these harmful effects can decrease or disappear.

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Regular dental visits and due diligence with daily brushing and flossing are the most important steps in gum disease prevention.  In addition, we strongly recommend daily use of waterflosser (by Waterpik) for better gum health.   If gum disease is diagnosed, prompt treatment is imperative for better teeth and better health.  Treating gum disease can improve your general health, your social life, and even your longevity. 

How to Treat Gum Disease?

Depending upon how advanced gum disease is, treatment can range from deep cleaning to gum surgery or even tooth extraction.  At Centre Dental, we don't treat gum disease as an isolated disease, but rather, we treat the root of gum disease.  We customize treatment based on individual circumstances.  We start with complete periodontal exam to evaluate the degree of gum disease, then we analyze what specific causes are for an individual.  We will provide customized oral hygiene instructions so that future damage is reduced. The following procedures are some examples of treatment modalities.

  1. Deep Cleaning.  Deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing, is a procedure to remove tartar buildup inside the gum.  It is normally done by quadrant, and the area has to be anesthetized.  A small scaler is inserted inside the gum to remove the deep buildups.

  2. Perio Tray by Perio Protect.®  Perio Protect® is a comprehensive treatment approach that combines professional cleanings with a special, comfortable tray delivery of medication that you use at home between office visits.


    The Perio Tray® by Perio Protect is similar to a mouth-guard, but it has a special sealing system to deliver medication below the gums. You load the tray with a medicated gel and wear it in your mouth for a few minutes a day. It is that easy.


    The most important advantage of the Perio Protect approach is that it can treat the bacteria causing the disease in a comfortable way, minimizing surgery and antibiotics.

    Dr Shi or Dr Yeung will develop a comprehensive treatment program for you. The goal is to help better manage the communities of bacteria below the gums between office visits.

    Perio Tray treatment does not replace other treatment procedures, but it facilitates other treatment (such as deep cleaning or gum Surgery) so that discomfort associated with other  procedures is greatly reduced, and treatment success is drastically improved.


  3. Gum Flap Surgery.  If the above two procedures cannot control your gum disease, gingival flap surgery may be required.  Once the area is anesthetized, Dr Shi uses a scalpel to separate the gums from the teeth. They will be lifted or folded back in the form of a flap. This allows direct access to the roots and bone supporting the teeth. Inflamed tissue will be removed from between the teeth and from any defect in the bone. Any tartar buildup that could not be reached by deep cleaning will be removed. The flap is then sutured back to the teeth.  Upon healing your gums will be more healthy.
  4. Osseous Surgery.  It is also called pocket reduction procedure.  Healthy bone and gum tissue fit snugly around the teeth. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth.  Over time, these pockets deepen, providing a larger and larger space for bacteria to live and grow. Osseous surgery is similar to flap surgery. After numbing the area, the gum tissue is lifted away from teeth, and any infected tissue as well as bone defect are removed.  Gum tissue is then sutured back.  Upon healing, the pockets are reduced, and gums are more healthy.  As a consequence of this procedure, you may experience some tooth sensitivity due to receding gums.