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Gum Disease

Gum disease results from plaque, calculus, and bacteria forming deposits on and under the gums.

Plaque is soft matrix made up of bacteria, saliva and food particles that can be brushed off with a toothbrush.  Plaque is constantly forming on the teeth.

Bacteria are normally found in everyone’s mouth.
Calculus is plaque that has hardened and must be removed by the hygienist.  It cannot be removed with a toothbrush.  These deposits can cause an infection of the gums.

The best way to remove the plaque is by brushing at least 2 times a day (especially before going to bed) and flossing daily.  There will always be some areas that are hard to get.  This is when calculus forms and has to be removed by a hygienist.

Gum disease is first noticed by bleeding gums when a person brushes, flosses, or uses a toothpick on their teeth.  This is called gingivitis and is usually treated with regular 6 month cleaning appointments.  If not treated, the condition worsens and develops into mild periodontal (gum) disease.  The mouth and the gums are puffy and red.  Treatment for this may consist of a regular cleaning and/or a deep cleaning called a periodontal scaling.  There may be 1 or 2 deep cleanings depending on the infection.  If the patient ignores their gums, the condition will get worse and worse.  Now it is called moderate periodontal disease.  It goes from mild to moderate to severe periodontal disease.  Once it reaches the severe stage, there is a possibility that you will lose some of your teeth.

The hygienist normally does all the cleanings, deep cleanings and home care instructions.  If the doctor feels it is necessary, they will refer you to a specialist called a Periodontist.