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Eighty percent of US adults suffer from some degree of gum disease, making this one of the most common diseases in America. Yet, only 60 percent know they have gum disease. Worse yet, only 3% of adults with moderate to severe levels of gum disease will accept treatment.8-in-10

Gum Disease Stages




Calculus builds up on teeth and gums are inflamed (red).



Inflammation causes gums to separate from tooth, forming pockets. Early to moderate bone loss.



Severe bone loss, deep pockets. Tooth is in danger of falling out.


Gums disease begins when a film called plaque accumulates on the teeth and calcium from saliva hardens the plaque — this calcified plaque is called tartar or calculus. Certain types of germs that live in this plaque and calculus damage gum tissue. Your body tries to fight this infection with an inflammatory attack, sending white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria. This inflammation causes the tissue to bleed easily when you brush or floss. This stage of the condition is called Gingivitis.

If the infection and inflammation persist the result is a chronic inflammatory condition where, in addition to the gums, ligament and bone around the teeth are destroyed — often with no symptoms. At this stage it is called Periondontitis.

Sign/Symptoms of Moderate-Advanced Gum Disease

  • Gums that are red, swollen and bleed easily
  • Gums that seem to have pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath and halitosis
  • Pus between your gums or teeth
  • Teeth that seem to be loose or moving away from one another
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Change in the way your partial denture or implant supported restorations fit
  • Sensitive or receding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Or no symptoms at all…

Treatment Options


Treatment Options for Gum disease

Success is determined by the treatment’s ability to reduce or eliminate gum inflammation, slow, or stop attachment loss and decrease pocket depth — and that can vary depending on the type of treatment.

Traditional Gum Surgery

A scalpel is used to cut the gums then fold or “flap” the gums back in order to expose the roots of the teeth and the jawbone. This allows the dentist to clean all the tartar from the roots and view the bone supporting the teeth. If any damaged bone is present, the bone is then reshaped and/or bone graft material is placed. The top of the gums may also be cut in order to achieve a periodontal pocket that is 3mm deep to allow the patient to clean effectively. For example, if you had a 6 millimeter pocket depth, then 3 millimeters of gum tissue (healthy or diseased) would have to be removed to create a 3 millimeter pocket. The gums are then stitched back in place and recovery begins.


Laser Gum Surgery

The LANAP protocol can ONLY be performed by a dentist who is certified in the procedure. Be sure to ask if the doctor is LANAP certified. During LANAP treatment, the PerioLase MVP-7 dental laser is used instead of a scalpel. The laser fiber is inserted between the gum and tooth, without cutting the gums. The laser light energy targets the source of the inflammation without hurting or removing any healthy gum tissue. This helps to slow or stop attachment loss and decrease pocket depth, and allowing the body to recover from the chronic infection without the need for scalpel or sutures. The gums are not cut to reduce pocket depth. The tops of your teeth (biting surface) are adjusted to keep from hitting your other teeth.




Smokers are four times more likely to develop advanced periodontal disease. “Secondhand smokers” have a 50-60% greater incidence of gum disease.



The older you are, the greater the risk for gum disease. More than half of adults aged 35-69 show signs surrounding three or four teeth.



If your parents had gum disease, you’re 12x’s more likely to host the bacteria that causes the gum disease. Genetics is responsible for about half of periodontal disease cases.



Nearly 75 percent of periodontal office visits are women. Female hormonal changes have an effect on oral health-effects that are also triggered by menopause and prescription birth control.



Gum Disease appears in greater numbers amongst the poor, particularly in the elderly and children as well as racial minorities. Those with fewer financial resources for dental visits show the greatest amounts of oral bacteria.


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Gum Disease Beyond Your Mouth

The effects of gum disease go well beyond tooth loss. New studies are emerging linking oral and overall health. Gum disease has been linked to Diabetes, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, pregnancy complications, Osteoporosis, Cancer, Herpes, HIV, and autoimmune disorders.

Learn More