Understanding Gum Disease and the Treatment Options

Updated on March 4, 2024
Understanding Gum Disease and the Treatment Options

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that 46 percent of adults 30 years and older present signs of gum disease. Your oral health should remain a priority, especially as you age, and you shouldn’t take gum disease lightly. Read on to better understand gum disease and its various treatment options.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—can also build up on the teeth and harden. This can lead to inflammation and infection if it’s not removed with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist.

The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. It’s often reversed with Professional treatment and good home oral care can often reverse it. Advanced gum disease or periodontitis will require more extensive treatment.

People who smoke, have diabetes, or have poor hygiene habits are more likely to develop gum disease.

Symptoms and Complications of Gum Disease

Recognizing the signs of gum disease is essential for early intervention and successful treatment. Symptoms include bleeding gums while you’re brushing your teeth, bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth.

Letting gum disease go untreated can lead to tooth loss or bone loss, which can affect the way you eat and speak. Not to mention, evidence suggests that the bacteria found in severe cases of gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease.

Treatment Options

Treatments for gum disease vary based on the severity of the condition.


Dentists can prescribe antibiotics in various forms, such as oral antibiotics, gels, or fibers placed in periodontal pockets. These medications target and reduce the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

Gum Surgery

When nonsurgical treatments are insufficient, surgery may be necessary to restore periodontal health.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery, involves lifting the gums back to remove the tartar deposits in deep pockets. This procedure allows the surgeon to smooth areas of damaged bone so that the gum tissue can reattach to healthy bone.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is an option for people suffering from bone loss. It involves placing natural or synthetic bone material into the affected area. The graft acts as a scaffold to provide support and to facilitate bone tissue growth.

Guided Tissue Regeneration

This technique encourages the regrowth of bone destroyed by bacteria. By inserting a small piece of mesh-like fabric between the bone and gum tissue, a dentist can protect the area from unwanted tissue growth and allow the regeneration of bone around the teeth.

Dental Implant Surgery

If gum disease significantly damages your mouth, dental implant surgery is an option. A key component of preparing for dental implant surgery is ensuring the infection is properly cared for. When you’re ready to reclaim your smile, this surgery is one of the most effective treatment options for replacing missing teeth due to periodontal disease.

Understanding gum disease and its treatment options gives you a clear picture of how to manage the disease. Stay up to date with dental cleanings, regularly brush and floss your teeth, and make healthy lifestyle choices. Your smile and quality of life will significantly improve with these simple steps.